ISRO sets up dedicated control centre for Space Situational Awareness

Bengaluru: A dedicated control centre for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) activities in the country, aimed at monitoring, tracking and protecting India’s space assets, has been set up here,the Indian Space Research Organisation said on Wednesday.

“ISRO SSA Control Centre, ‘NETRA’, is set up within the ISTRAC campus at Peenya.

The control centre is envisaged to function as a hub of all SSA activities within India,” the space agency said.

The Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management (DSSAM) engages in evolving improved operational mechanisms to protect Indian space assets through effective coordination amongst ISRO/DOS Centres, other space agencies and international bodies, it said.

According to ISRO, the Network for space object Tracking and Analysis (NETRA) project is initiated as a first step towards meeting this goal, its main elements being a radar, an optical telescope facility, and a control centre.

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The control centre was formally inaugurated by Chairman, ISRO and Secretary, Department of Space K Sivan on December 14.

Stating that concurrent processing of data from the upcoming observational facilities for space objects orbit determination, correlation and catalogue generation will take place here, ISRO said there will be provision to schedule and remotely operate the observational facilities from the control centre.

Other core SSA activities will comprise close approach analysis between ISROs satellite and launch vehicles, timely dissemination of advance alerts on upcoming critical conjunctions for collision avoidance of operational assets, prediction of atmospheric re-entry of derelict satellites and rocket bodies, it said.

In addition, dedicated labs will also be set up in this control centre for Space Debris mitigation and remediation, compliance verification of UN/IADC guidelines and various R&D activities.

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The R&D activities will encompass space object fragmentation and break up modelling, space debris population and micrometeoroid environment modelling, Space Weather studies, Near-Earth Objects and planetary defence studies etc, it added.

According to ISRO, in view of the ever-growing population of space objects and the recent trend towards mega-constellations, SSA has become an integral and indispensable part of safe and sustainable space operations.

For the last few decades, ISRO has been carrying out SSA activities, mainly focused on safeguarding India’s space assets.

The Directorate of Space Situational Awareness and Management (DSSAM) has been established at ISRO, recognising the need for dedicated efforts to tackle the emerging challenges of operating in an exceedingly crowded and contested space domain.

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