from stratrisks.com: There is really so much junk floating around in space
the government needs help keeping track of it all. This week the
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency announced a program to utilize
amateur astronomers to help watch space for any dangerous junk that
maybe be threatening satellites or other spacecraft and even the Earth.
If you have a telescope, great but the program will even install
equipment if you are in a strategic area the government want to watch.
DARPA’s program , known as SpaceView is strategically aimed at offering
more diverse data to the Space Surveillance Network (SSN), a US Air
Force program charged with cataloging and observing space objects to
identify potential near-term collisions.
With SpaceView DARPA will provide “state of the art hardware and
relatively minor financial compensation may be provided in exchange for
the shared telescope time, site security, and routine maintenance. This
allows the SpaceView concept to significantly reduce deployment costs
when compared to traditional optical space-surveillance facilities.
Equally important, remote observing and the availability of the local
SpaceView member for troubleshooting eliminates the need for any paid
employees at the site, further decreasing operational costs,” DARPA
According to the agency, SpaceView is in its initial developmental phase
which consists of developing the network architecture and demonstrating
the ability to remotely and automatically operate a network of sites
from a central location. A large part of developing the network
architecture consists of determining the needs of the amateur astronomy
community so that these needs can be aligned with the space surveillance
needs of SpaceView, DARPA stated.
If you are interested in signing up go here.
According to DARPA, by providing contact information and the answers to
a few basic questions you will be helping us to begin the process of
gathering the information we need to develop the network architecture
concept more thoroughly. Once your information has been received by
SpaceView interested parties will most likely receive a link via email
to a questionnaire requesting more detailed information regarding your
astronomy background, observing habits, as well as other demographic
information. This information will be used by SpaceView to determine the
habits and needs of candidate network members.
more than 500,000 pieces of hazardous space debris orbit the earth,
threatening satellites that support peacekeeping and combat missions.
of what NASA calls orbital debris include: “Derelict spacecraft and
upper stages of launch vehicles, carriers for multiple payloads, debris
intentionally released during spacecraft separation from its launch
vehicle or during mission operations, debris created as a result of
spacecraft or upper stage explosions or collisions, solid rocket motor
effluents, and tiny flecks of paint released by thermal stress or small
particle impacts. ”
According to NASA the Top 10 space junk producing missions are:
Name Year of Breakup Debris items Cause of Breakup
- Fengyun-1C 2007 2,841 Intentional Collision
- Cosmos 2251 2009 1,267 Accidental Collision
- STEP 2 Rocket Body 1996 713 Accidental Explosion
- Iridium 33 2009 521 Accidental Collision
- Cosmos 2421 2008 509 Unknown
- SPOT 1 Rocket Body 1986 492 Accidental Explosion
- OV2-1 Rocket Body 1965 473 Accidental Explosion
- Nimbus 4 Rocket Body 1970 374 Accidental Explosion
- TES Rocket Body 2001 370 Accidental Explosion
- CBERS 1 Rocket Body 2000 343 Accidental Explosion