New Isro centre to protect high-value space assets
The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has laid the foundation stone for a centre to monitor and protect high value space assets from space debris in Bengaluru, a senior official of the agency said on Saturday.
According to Isro, the Space Situation Awareness and Management Centre will use the data from indigenous observation facilities, analyse it and generate useful tracking information
“We already have radars that track our satellites, but it was happening at many separate centres. Now, with Isro undertaking more and more missions and India’s space assets increasing, it was essential to concentrate these activities in one nodal centre,” said the official who did not wish to be named.
Isro has doubled the number of missions planned over a span of two years — from the 16 planned and executed in 2017, the number has gone up to 32 missions for 2019 and 38 for 2020, according to the space agency’s annual report.
Space objects in the orbit around the Earth are also on the rise, increasing the need for tracking, said the official. As of January 2019, space objects with a mass of nearly 8,400 tonnes were in the Earth orbit. About 22,300 debris objects are tracked by various space agencies, according to the European Space Agency.
Of these, India currently has 97 satellites (functional or non-functional) in orbit, 38 rocket bodies, and 120 pieces of debris, according to SPACE-TRACK.org, a public access database maintained by the US.
“Tracking the debris is important because if it is in the path of one of our satellites, the trajectory of the debris cannot be altered of course but our satellite can be shifted to prevent a collision,” the official said