SAN FRANCISCO – LeoLabs, the Silicon Valley space mapping startup, announced Oct. 14, initial operation of the Kiwi Space Radar, the firm’s third space surveillance radar and first with updated technology to track debris as small as two centimeters in low Earth orbit.
“We founded the company on the promise that we would deliver this technology,” Dan Ceperly, LeoLabs co-founder and CEO, told SpaceNews. “We’re extremely excited to show the technology that we’re going to take around the world.”
LeoLabs now operates three radars to track spacecraft and debris in low Earth orbit (LEO). The firm’s first two radars, located in Alaska and Texas, are designed to track objects as small as ten centimeters, the size of a single cubesat. U.S. Strategic Command tracks objects of similar size and shares the information through the website spacetrack.org.
“The Kiwi Space Radar raises the bar on addressing the threat of collisions that have never before been tracked in LEO,” Michael Nicolls, LeoLabs co-founder and chief technology officer, said in a statement. “By operating at a higher frequency than our earlier sensors, the Kiwi Space Radar was designed to track an estimated 250,000 additional objects down to two centimeters in size. These objects ...