This new space radar in Costa Rica can track the smallest debris in orbit

This new space radar in Costa Rica can track the smallest debris in orbit

To study near space, radars on Earth can do the trick. This new creation in Costa Rica is extremely precise. Explanation.

Costa Rica hosts a new radar giant space. A radar capable of detecting debris in orbit measuring no less than two centimeters. This was built by LeoLabs, a company that provides commercial radar tracking services for objects in low Earth orbit (OTB, or LEO). The Costa Rica site was declared fully operational less than a year after the start of the project. LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley called it the “most advanced commercial space radar of its kind”. A radar capable of detecting an object the size of a golf ball at 30,000 km / h.

This space radar in Costa Rica can detect a golf ball moving at 30,000 km / h in low earth orbit

The radar in question can keep an eye on active satellites like space debris, which make up the vast majority of man-made objects that can be found in OTB. There are also any devices that LeoLabs customers – satellite operators, defense, space or government agencies, and even insurance companies or scientific organizations – might want to track.

Eyes that will become absolutely vital as space is congested

Space debris has multiplied dangerously around Earth in recent decades, and the problem will become more and more important in the future as private companies deploy more and more satellites. Debris roaming space is a huge threat to the ISS and any future mission, manned or not. Which explains the need for a company like LeoLabs. Ed Lu, co-founder of the company, recently declared that “the main danger to astronauts aboard the International Space Station has always been, even today, that debris too small to be detected by the United States Department of Defense. perforate the shell. ”

Now that the Costa Rica site is operational, LeoLabs has full low Earth orbit coverage with its four radars in place. The company intends to build more, all over the world, to be able to track any dangerous activity in OTB, which should happen more and more regularly in the future.

Travis M. Andrews
Travis M. Andrews is a features writer for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2016 as a reporter for Morning Mix. He was previously a travel and culture editor for Southern Living magazine, a contributing pop culture reporter for Mashable and the Week, and a contributing editor for the Syfy blog Dvice. He also has freelanced for magazines, including Esquire, GQ and Time. He is the author of the coming book "Because He's Jeff Goldblum," a semi-rumination and semi-ridiculous look at the career of the enigmatic actor and an exploration of the shifting nature of fame in the 21st century, to be published in November by Plume.