Magazine article National Defense

DARPA Eyes Space Junk from the Ground

Magazine article National Defense

DARPA Eyes Space Junk from the Ground

Article excerpt

Deep space is hard enough to comprehend, let alone see.

Current ground-based telescopes leave the Defense Department with a limited view of the nether regions, putting military satellites used for intelligence and communications at risk of colliding with meteors, space debris or other satellites.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, though, is wrapping up a demonstration with a new Space Surveillance Telescope that officials say will offer an unprecedented view of objects in space.

"Currently we have a soda-straw view of deep space, where we can only see one narrow segment of space at a time," said Air Force Lt Col. Travis Blake, DAR-PAs program manager for the telescope, which is based at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. 'The Space Surveillance Telescope should give vis a much wider windshield view of deep space objects, significantly enhancing our space situational awareness."

The telescope features large, curved focal surface array sensors much greater than and doesn't require the long optics of more traditional designs. …

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