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Daily News Analysis

Now, a satellite system to combat space collisions

29th October, 2020 Science and Technology

Context: Canada's NorthStar Earth & Space and Thales Alenia Space will begin work on a commercial satellite system to combat the threat of collisions in space.

  • They will build the first three satellites of its “Skylark” constellation.
  • This constellation would be the first commercial service to monitor objects like satellites in space from space, where they can be tracked more precisely than from Earth.
  • A full system of 12 satellites is expected to launch in 2024.
  • Data from the constellation could be used by groups from insurance companies to commercial satellite operators.
  • The 2009 collision between a spacecraft operated by U.S. communications group Iridium Satellite LLC and a Russian Cosmos-2251 military satellite sent at least 600 pieces of debris off into space and raised fears that other satellites could be struck and damaged.
  • Countries should levy an “orbit congestion charge” on satellite operators to tackle the growing concentration of space junk like debris, although others doubted the practicalities of such a fee.