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Business News/ News / India/  Uttarakhand to have India's first observatory to monitor space activity
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Uttarakhand to have India's first observatory to monitor space activity

India's first situational awareness observatory to monitor space activity is going to be set up in Uttarakhand by Digantara

India's first observatory to monitor space activity to come up in Uttarakhand (Wikimedia Commons)Premium
India's first observatory to monitor space activity to come up in Uttarakhand (Wikimedia Commons)

Digantara, a space sector start-up of India, is going to set-up India's first commercial space situational awareness observatory in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand, to track objects as small as 10 cm in size orbiting the earth.

The space situational awareness (SSA) observatory will assist in tracking any activity in space including that of space debris and military satellites hovering over the region.

At present, the United States is a dominant player in monitoring space debris. It has observatories in multiple locations with commercial companies providing additional inputs from across the world.

Anirudh Sharma, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Digantara said, "The observatory in Uttarakhand will fill the crucial gap in SSA observations in the region as there is a lack of such facilities between Australia and southern Africa".

Digantara, a space sector start-up of India.
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Digantara, a space sector start-up of India.

The observatory will help to monitor events occurring in deep space, especially in the geostationary, medium-Earth, and high-Earth orbits. The high-quality observations made will be complemented by observations of its partner ground-based sensor network.

"With this data, it would be able to reduce the potential for collisions between satellites and other spacecraft by making more accurate predictions of their location, speed, and trajectory," Sharma said.

Sharma explained the strategic significance of the observatory citing the ongoing war between Russia- and Ukraine. He said, ahead of the war in Ukraine, several Russian satellites were seen hovering over the region. Thus, the observatory will give India indigenous capabilities to monitor space activity over the subcontinent providing a strategic advantage.

"If, for example, Chinese satellites are seen over one particular region of India for a long time, having indigenous capability to monitor such activities and not being dependent on countries like the US is a plus for India," Sharma said.

India has been monitoring space objects using multi-object tracking radars and the SSA observatory will be a huge boost in the sector.

A company statement from Digantara read, "With the establishment of the observatory Digantara will be able to supplement its space-based sensors in their mission to monitor satellites and debris in orbits ranging from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO). This will also bring indigenous capabilities to the nation for both military and civilian applications."

The observatory will also help in avoiding great losses since there is an increasing need for efficient collision avoidance systems in highly congested orbital regions like low earth orbit and geosynchronous earth orbit.

The addition of the new observatory will be a part of Digantara's network of observational facilities and is expected to work in tandem with the currently planned constellation of space-based sensors.

"This will improve the effectiveness of tracking and identifying pre-existing resident space objects (RSO), and will result in the creation of a hybrid data pool that will serve both the commercial and the defence sectors of the space industry," Sharma added.

Sudhir Nautiyal, Director Industries in the Government of Uttarakhand was quoted as saying, "We are proud to support Digantara’s vision and plans in establishing India’s first dedicated Space Situational Awareness (SSA) observatories in Uttarakhand."

With inputs from PTI.

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Published: 22 Aug 2022, 04:30 PM IST
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