In the wake of Chandrayan-2 mission, ISRO secretly started Project NETRA a month ago. Project NETRA or Network for space object tracking and analysis will work as an Early Warning System to detect debris and other harmful objects to Indian space possessions in space.
What is Space Debris and how it is problematic?
Space Debris is junk of space. These may be floating particles and stays for a longer period. The junk collides with each other and coverts into small pieces. Space Debris has arisen as the biggest threat to all the countries who hold assets in space. Space Debris, if not controlled will destroy the satellites and other things. Moreover, it will become a threat to the International Space Station too. It collides with the space satellites and produces more debris. With this, we may lose are more important satellites and space missions.
The estimated cost for this project is ₹400 crores. Experts also say that this project not only helps to predict the threats from debris to Indian satellites but also from Missiles or space attacks. With this project, India will have its own SSA (space situational awareness) capability.
ISRO clarifies that this project will be first in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). LEO is having remote sensing spacecraft. The space agency has a plan to keep up observational facilities in terms of connected radars, telescopes, control center, and data processing units. These facilities can locate, chase and classify as small as 10 cm, goes up to the range of 3400 km and identical to space orbit of approx 2000 km.
With NETRA, ISRO can look after the satellites from Earth. NETRA’s ultimate goal is to apprehend the Geostationary orbit or GEO (36000km); where communication satellites operate.
In addition to this, K. Shivan said the plan is high precision, long-range telescope in Leh and radar in the north east. For instance, he added, “Along with them, we will also use the Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) that we have put up at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, and the telescopes at Ponmudi and Mount Abu” to get a wide picture.
Till now, we are dependent on NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), program of US and Canada for Debris data sharing. Dr. K Shivan informed that, by installing an observation system of India, we become part of an international network.
NETRA is having military fragment added to it. Most noteworthy it will provide overall security in terms of space and defense.
NORAD is also using the same techniques of satellites, air and ground radars to meet its security needs.
As a result, India to become a responsible space power; it is necessary to have its own SSA. This is prerequisite in the protection of our space holdings. Furthermore, India can also position other satellites in space to track other satellites.