Ensuring that nothing goes out of sight, Digantara, a space industry start-up is launching India’s first-ever commercial Space Situational Awareness (SSA) observatory. It is put up in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
The observatory will monitor activities that take place in space and look out for military satellites and space debris. It is believed to be a one-of-a-kind observatory which has been placed strategically to monitor global space traffic. As of now, it is the US that is monitoring the space debris.
With the advent of space observatories, the country can benefit from the data sources derived from observations and help in understanding the cosmos better. To keep a tab on satellites and debris in orbit, augmented space-based sensors are placed from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO).
The observatory will help in reducing the chances of collisions between satellites and other spacecraft. This will take place by predicting their location, speed and trajectory. It will also help in keeping a tab on Resident Space Objects (RSO). Along with this, with the addition of the SSA observatory, India will witness a boost in the field of monitoring space objects via multi-object tracking radars.
SSA-specific sensors will bridge the data gap observed between Australia and southern Africa. It will also help in keeping a tab on space activity that takes place above the Indian subcontinent and provide a piece of real-time information. It will circulate supplements to global networks of SSA sensors and provide constant tracking of objects across the planet.
At present, India provides a limited range of Multi-Object Tracking Radar at the Sriharikota range in Andhra Pradesh. For additional data, it accesses NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) and various other sources for SSA.