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ISRO initiated ‘Project NETRA’- A space situational awareness step to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites

The Indian Space Research Organisation(ISRO) has initiated ‘Project NETRA’ (NETRA-Network for space object Tracking and Analysis) in the middle of its Chandrayaan campaign last month, in-order to detect debris in space and other hazards in Indian satellites which would act as a step for Space Situational Awareness(SSA). The project is estimated to be worth of Rs. 400 Crore.ISRO initiated ‘Project NETRA’

Key points
i. SSA: India will have its own SSA like other space powers in predicting debris to Indian satellites and this SSA will be the first for low-earth orbits (LEO), having remote-sensing spacecraft.
ii. NETRA: NETRA is a network of observational tools like telescopes and radars, which will be connected to a data processing units and a control centre, which have the ability to track objects/debris as small as 10cm upto a range of 3400km and also equal to space orbit of 2000k m.

  • Goal- NETRA’s goal is to capture the geosynchronous equatorial orbit(GEO) at 36,000 km where communication satellites operate.

iii. Space debris: They are floating particles from dead satellites and rocket parts which may cripple the electronic boards of an active satellite worth several hundred crore rupees. Even a small fragment of paint may affect the active parts of a satellite. For this purpose, agencies are appointed to look for debris.
iv. Steps taken to get a broad SSA picture High-precision, long-range telescope in Leh region and a radar in the North East are fixed where Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh have also been put up. Telescopes at Ponmudi, Kerala and at Mount Abu, Rajasthan are set up to get a broad SSA picture. Currently, ISRO depends on data from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) which is a United States(US) and Canada initiative in sharing of the debris data.
v. Current satellites data: There are currently 15 functional Indian communication satellites in the 36,000 km geostationary orbit, 13 remote sensing satellites in LEO of up to 2,000 km and 8 navigation satellites in medium earth orbits(MEO).

About ISRO:
Headquarters- Bengaluru.
Founder- Vikram Sarabhai.
Founded- 15 August 1969.
Director- Kailasavadivoo Sivan(K.Sivan).