MOTR: Multi-Object Tracking Radar
The term Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) was in news on 15 May 2015 as the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced its plans to commission the radar in June 2015.
It has been entirely designed and built indigenously by the ISRO in collaboration with 22 private entities except the Radome, the dome structure which protects the radar antenna and related equipment from environment. Radome was imported from USA.
Key Features of Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR)
• It is capable of tracking 10 different objects at a time including 50 cm X 50 cm object size at a slant range of 1000 kilometer long range and 30 cm X 30 cm size at a slant range of 800 kilometer in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
• Unlike the disc radars that keep spinning, the 35-tonne radar is a stationary, 12-metre-long, 8-metre-tall and contains 4068 individual radiating elements.
• It emits radio-frequency waves that combine to form a single beam. The beam can be electronically steered so that a third of the sky is scanned. Since the radar’s base can be rotated to three positions, the entire sky can be covered.
• It was built at a lower cost when compared to other space agencies in the world which developed similar technologies for around 900 crore rupees. The MOTR was developed for around 245 crore rupees only.
Importance of MOTR
• The existing radars, which ISRO has six in its control, are capable of tracking single objects only and are limited in their utility by covering only larger objects. The induction of MOTR will help the ISRO in its future missions including the space capsule recovery, reusable launch vehicle and human space programmes and tracking space debris.
• Regular tracking of space debris is required to update the space debris catalogue and to protect the country's space assets from any possible collision with them.
• The MOTR will help in achieving self-reliance in similar enedeavours. Between 2010 and 2015 ISRO changed and re-aligned the position of at least 12 satellites to avoid collision with debris. These operations were done by utilizing the resources of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).
• It can also be used in Airports, meteorology related operations, vertical wind profiling and in defense.
The project received the approval in 2012 and was completed in the scheduled time which ended on February 2015. At present it is in the testing stage.
By commissioning the technology India will join the elite league consisting of USA, Canada, Japan, Israel and European Union (EU) which have the similar capabilities.
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