ISRO prevents 2 space collossions on average per month

Space Collisions: Isro on average prevented 2 each month this year: The first five months of this year have already seen Isro perform at least 10 collision avoidance manoeuvres (CAMs) to prevent damage to Indian space assets, reiterating the increasing problem space debris pose to active, operational space assets.“We had done more than 10 at the end of May this year and all have been avoiding debris,” one source said, adding that most of them have been in lowEarthorbit (LEO).

In 2021, the year Isro’s directorate of space situational awareness and management (DSSAM) commenced full operations, Isro carried out 20 CAMs — 15 in LEO and five in geostationary orbit (GEO). They were spread across nine of the 12 months, with the highest number performed in May 2021.In fact, the number of CAMs are only increasing with at least 70 carried out since 2015. Of these, 31 have come in 2022 and 2021 together, while 2020 saw 12. The number was at eight in 2019 and 2018, five each in 2017 and 2016 and only three in 2015.

As part of its efforts to enhance space situational awareness (SSA), India is implementing project Netra, which once operational will provide an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian assets.According to Isro, “Netra will acquire indigenous capabilities to detect, identify, track and catalogue space debris objects. Under the project, Isro will have a control centre, multi-object tracking radar and optical telescope for space debris observation.”

Netra optical telescope — capable of tracking objects of size 40cm or larger at geostationary orbit (GEO) — is being established at Hanle in Ladakh, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA).While the activities for infrastructure development of the telescope like topographical survey, site levelling, design and laying of access roads and geotechnical investigations are under progress, a senior official from Isro headquarters said DSSAM, which would operate Netra, was in the final stages of procuring the telescope.“We had put out the tender about six months ago and we are now in the final stages of procurement.

But it will take several more months for it to be commissioned,” the official said.The directorate has already commenced its activities from the SSA control centre at Peenya in Bengaluru, where operations related to safeguarding space assets like conjunction analysis for collision risk mitigation have started after deployment of relevant software and hardware elements.“A preliminary version of observational data processing and space objects’ orbit determination, data correlation and object identification has also been deployed.

Further deployment of computational and networking infrastructure is in progress. The control centre is envisaged to function as a hub of all SSA activities in India,” Isro said.The multi-object tracking phased array radar under Netra — capable of tracking objects in size of 10cm or larger at a range of 2,500km — is expected to come up in the northeast region of India. The activities related to finalising the land and realisation of radar has been initiated.

“It will most likely be in Assam, but we are working out the modalities. It has been decided that the radar will come up in the northeastern region,” the official added.

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