Infrastructure

Space Situational Awareness Satellites


2013 – Canada: Sapphire

The ability to minimize false detections of missile launches is a feature of Canada’s Sapphire spacecraft, launched in February 2013. The C$## million (US$## million) spacecraft, which features a unique…

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2012 – ESA: SSA

Europe is investing in a pan-European SSA capability through an ESA program that was initiated in 2009. Investment of €## million (US$## million) was initially requested for full-scale development, but…

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2011 – U.S.: SBSS

In 2010, the United States launched the first Space Based Space Surveillance satellite (SBSS-1) for its Space Surveillance Network. From its LEO orbit, SBSS-1 supplements ground-based equipment that tracks more…

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2010 – U.S.: SBSS

Another notable launch in 2010 was the first Space Based Space Surveillance satellite (SBSS-1) for the U.S. Space Surveillance Network. This branch of U.S. Strategic Command is tasked with detecting,…

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2010 – U.S. Space Surveillance Network

One specialized type of system that uses both satellites and ground stations is dedicated to space situational awareness (SSA). An SSA system tracks satellites and other objects orbiting Earth. This…

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2011 – ESA: SSA

ESA also maintains a space situational awareness program with increasing support from its member nations. Numerous close encounters between orbital debris and Germany’s five SAR-Lupe radar reconnaissance satellites and an urgent…

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2011 – U.S. Space Surveillance Network

A series of SSN upgrades are underway. In 2011, a DARPA-funded space surveillance telescope underwent testing. After nine years of development, the new telescope, located at White Sands Missile Range,…

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Ground Components

The United States currently operates the most capable SSA system, the Space Surveillance Network (SSN). The SSN is composed of stations based around the globe that use a combination of…

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