Explained: Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Control Centre launched by ISRO
Why in News?
ISRO SSA Control Centre was formally inaugurated on December 14, 2020, by Dr K Sivan who is the Chairman, ISRO/Secretary, DOS. It was established due to the need to set up a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to SSA activities on par with international agencies.
- The dedicated control centre is for the SSA's work is being done under project NETRA, called Network for space object Tracking and Analysis.
- ISRO has been conducting many space situational analysis works for past many decades. This is why SSA was needed.
- Space is being crowded with many old satellites, debris etc, which is why project NETRA was started.
What is the NETRA project?
In August 2020, NETRA Project was initiated by ISRO which is an early warning system to protect the satellites from space debris and other hazards of Space.
The project would also provide India with some capabilities for Space Situational Awareness like many other space powers have. The estimated cost of the project is INR 400 crore. Take a look at the picture of the space debris below.
Why is the NETRA project important?
- The agencies that conduct satellite programmes have to be careful regarding the fragments of debris in the space which calls for the NETRA project
- In any case, if debris faces any collision with the satellite, it would immediately damage it and cause a loss of hundreds of crores.
- The services that run on satellites would, in turn, be affected if the satellites are affected.
- It is very important to know the position of any debris in space during the time of launch of a new satellite.
About SSA Project
- The SSA launched by ISRO would monitor low Earth orbit- LEO satellites which have remote sensing aircraft.
- It is set up in ISTRAC campus in Peenya, Bengaluru.
- The ISRO has planned to put up many observational facilities like connected radars, telescopes, data processing units and control centres.
- The control centre would be functioning as a hub of all SSA activities within India
- Concurrent processing of data from the upcoming observational facilities for space objects’, orbit determination, correlation and catalogue generation would be taking place here.
- Provisions would also be provided to schedule and remotely operate observational facilities from the control centre.
- A few dedicated labs would also be set up for Space Debris mitigation and remediation
- There would also be compliance verification of UN/IADC guidelines and various R&D activities
Research and Development activities through SSA
The facilities in the control centre would help Indian researchers track objects as small as 10 cm, upto a range of 3400 kilometres and in the space orbit range of almost 2000 kilometres.
The establishment of ISRO SSA Control Centre marks an important milestone towards enhancement and augmentation of ISRO’s SSA capabilities, paving the way for greater self-reliance under the ambit of “Atmanirbhar” Bharat.