Critical Asia Pacific Location Enhances Timeliness and Coverage in the Southern Hemisphere
MENLO PARK, Calif., October 19, 2021 (LeoLabs PR) — LeoLabs, Inc., the world’s leading commercial provider of Space Domain Awareness (SDA) and Space Traffic Management (STM) services for low Earth Orbit, today announced Australia as the site for its next space radar. The West Australian Space Radar represents a critical addition to LeoLabs growing global constellation of S-band, phased-array sensors. When completed in 2022, it will expand LeoLabs’ total number of radar sites to six, and total number of space radars to ten.
“There is no location on the planet more strategic than Australia for monitoring the unprecedented growth of activity in low Earth orbit (LEO),” said Dan Ceperley, CEO and Co-Founder of LeoLabs. “On one hand, the West Australian Space Radar is perfectly positioned to expand LeoLabs capacity for tracking satellites and debris, improving the timeliness of all our spatial data and mapping services. On the other hand, this radar will join our global constellation of radars, improving our ability to monitor critical risks and events in space. It further cements our lead as the only organization deploying extensive space coverage in the southern hemisphere. These capabilities constitute unique opportunities, in Australia and globally, for new products and services. LeoLabs is pleased to support these directions.”
“The West Australian Space Radar is just one element of LeoLabs’ strategic vision for investing long term in Australia”, continued Ceperley. “That vision extends to recruiting and growing a world class team that is an integral contributor to the Australian space community and drives LeoLabs’ activities globally. In that regard, I’m pleased to report that the leadership of our Australian team is already in place and is looking to aggressively expand, especially into software and other technical areas. Our radar is a multi-decade investment, and so will be our commitment to investing in Australian space expertise for the new space economy.
“We are pleased to welcome LeoLabs to Australia,” said James Brown, CEO of Space Industry Association of Australia, “and appreciate their strong alignment with our mission of growing Australia’s space industrial base. Australia clearly has an opportunity to become a space surveillance superpower and a leader in global space governance, and LeoLabs can certainly play a role in supporting and informing that mission. We recognize that the LeoLabs West Australian Space Radar is just the beginning.”
“I could not be more optimistic about the future of the Australian space sector, and the contribution LeoLabs will make to build that future,” said LeoLabs Australia Managing Director, Terry van Haren. “The commercialization of LEO and the involvement of state actors in LEO continues to accelerate, and as we expand our capabilities here, LeoLabs is poised to support Australia’s national interests in preserving transparency, deterrence, safety of flight and sustainability. LeoLabs global radar network already produces the world’s largest number of LEO observations,” added van Haren, “and the West Australian Space Radar will solidify and extend that lead. Today our catalogue tracks approximately 17,000 objects in low Earth orbit; in the near future that will grow to a massive 250,000 objects. The West Australian Space Radar also adds more timely updates on critical events in LEO, including collisions, breakups, maneuvers, new launches, and re-entries.”
LeoLabs is today the only end-to-end supplier of radar infrastructure and SDA services to support the mission of keeping the emerging LEO economy open, secure, and ensuring its sustainability for future generations.
Backgrounder: LEO Opportunities, Risks, and the “Data Deficit”
Low Earth Orbit is rapidly emerging as the commercial frontier in space. Rapid deployment of new satellite constellations, the demand for innovative services from imaging to broadband to IoT (internet of things), and the billions of dollars of new investment in space-based infrastructure are redefining a domain shared by governments, space agencies, regulators, commercial operators, and space insurance.
Against this backdrop of unprecedented opportunity are two challenges critical to investment and the long-term viability of LEO. The first is the need to develop LEO sustainably by addressing the threat posed by space debris. Approximately 250,000 dangerous pieces of orbital debris have gone untracked by government legacy systems that can no longer keep pace with increasing risks to satellite constellations. Sustainability is not just an arena for operators to address, but also for regulators to establish international best practices, set standards, and define rules of behavior.
A second challenge critical to the long-term viability of LEO is keeping it open and secure. As the number of private space enterprises and space-faring nations continue to grow, so does the need to track and make transparent the full range of events that threaten an open space environment.
“The single greatest challenge to both the sustainability and security threats in LEO is solving the “data deficit,” said Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs CEO. “The number of assets in LEO doubled last year, will double again this year, and is expected to grow 25x in the next five years. LeoLabs is already the largest provider of data for LEO today, and this lead will expand rapidly as we execute on our constellation of radars.” Ceperley continued, “The legacy government-built SSA infrastructures of the past simply cannot scale to track the new levels of LEO activity, and they have no path to get there. Our commercially driven infrastructure is the only viable and scalable way to address this “data deficit”.
The West Australian Space Radar will make a critical contribution to solving these challenges. Because of its strategic Asia Pacific location, the radar complements other LeoLabs radar sites, and will increase the frequency of observations LeoLabs collects on each satellite and orbital debris. This improves response times, and supports effective tracking and safety of flight. Second, the additional two S-band radars in the southern hemisphere adds critical resiliency to the global network, improving operational service levels and persistent tracking. And third, the West Australian Space Radar accelerates LeoLabs ability to discover, track and catalogue the objects never before tracked, those under 10 centimeters.
Founded in 2016 as a venture-funded spinout of Silicon Valley research pioneer, SRI International, LeoLabs provides access to critical mapping and SSA data for low Earth orbit. LeoLabs’ services include collision prevention, risk assessment, constellation monitoring, and commercial SSA. LeoLabs today serves regulatory and space agencies, commercial satellite operators, defense, and scientific/academic organizations that are driving generational change in LEO. LeoLabs’ core technology includes a patent pending global phased-array radar network which tracks debris and satellites in LEO. Observations generated from this network are the foundation of the LeoLabs mapping and SDA/SSA software platform, providing timely and accurate orbital and situational data.
Further information, visit LeoLabs at www.leolabs.space, or LinkedIn, Twitter .