Space is congested due to the ever-increasing amount of space objects orbiting Earth; more than 20,000 objects larger than 10 centimetres are currently orbiting the Earth while it is estimated that more than 300,000 items between 1 and 10 centimetres are in orbit. Space is contested because of threats and hazards, such as actions by hostile entities or adverse space weather conditions that could affect space assets.
Canadian satellite missions support a wide variety of applications and provide ongoing services to Canadian citizens, commercial entities, and government agencies. These services include telecommunications, Earth observation, remote sensing, and space surveillance. Disruption and/or loss of these services would impact the ability of Canada to respond to emergency situations and meet commitments to allies. As a result, it is important to take measures to safeguard these assets against space objects and in-orbit threats.
MDA has been active in space surveillance since the launch of Sapphire in 2013. Sapphire is a spacecraft designed to monitor space debris and satellites within an orbit 6,000 to 40,000 kilometres above Earth. The satellite has been providing data to the United States Space Surveillance Network since January 2014. Although space asset threat detection is an active area of research and development, most of these solutions are not yet mature and a complete, integrated solution does not exist. This talk will describe some of MDA’s challenges towards space surveillance.
Jerry Lim is a Principal Engineer at MDA for the past 43 years. He has been creating and building complex systems for commercial, government, and military customers for Space, Airborne, Naval, and Ground. He is a member of Engineers and Geoscientists BC, Fellow Engineer of Canada, IEEE Life Senior Member, ACM Senior Member, and Member of INCOSE.
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