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Researchers Plan to ­se Nano-Satellites as Space Traffic Cops

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A view of the orbital debris surrounding Earth.

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are developing a team of small satellites to help prevent satellite-on-satellite collisions in space.

Credit: NASA

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers are developing a team of small satellites that will serve as traffic cops in space.

"Eventually, our satellite will be orbiting and making...observations to help prevent satellite-on-satellite collisions in space," says LLNL researcher Lance Simms.

Although the researchers have not made the exact size specifications of their satellites public, miniature satellites typically weigh anywhere from 1,000 pounds to a device about the size of a loaf of bread. These smaller, lighter satellites are generally less expensive to build and are easier to launch into orbit.

Current technology can only pinpoint the path of a space object within a one-kilometer range, a lack of precision that creates about 10,000 false alarms for every legitimate near miss or collision. The LLNL researchers think they can reduce that one-kilometer uncertainty range to about 50 meters. The researchers have not announced when the nano-satellite traffic cops will be launched.

From Computerworld
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