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Leolabs launches it’s next generation space radar

Written by: Christiana Okolie

Space debris is a growing problem in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). This debris is mostly made up of defunct/non-operational satellites, used upper stages of launch vehicles and collisions between satellites, coming in all shapes and sizes. The issue worsens, as the rate of launches increases, and LEO becomes more clustered. Even objects of just 2cm in diameter can have massive consequences if they end up colliding with spacecraft, travelling around the Earth at thousands of miles per hour. Space situational awareness for LEO operators has been limited to objects greater than 10cm in size, until now…….

The recent announcement from our portfolio company, LeoLabs, of it’s ‘Kiwi Space Radar (KSR)’ in New Zealnd represents the next generation of ground based radars that will enable thousands of satellites to safely use LEO. By operating at a higher frequency than its earlier sensors, the KSR was designed to track an estimated 250,000 additional objects down to 2cm in size. These objects account for most of the risk of collisons in space, and KSR is the first big step towards addressing that risk.

The addition of the KSR to LeoLabs’ network of radars will mean more accurate tracking, prediction and alerting for LEO satellite operators, enabling those operators to be better informed when making critical operational decisions about their valuable assets in space.

We are supporting LeoLabs in its efforts to further roll-out its unique network of radars and look forward to seeing how LeoLabs progresses in its mission to build out the leading LEO services platform. At Seraphim we often say that “hardware is the tool and data is the business”. Well, that hardware and that data just got a lot better as a result of what Dan, Mike and all the team are achieving at LeoLabs.

“Our radar network constitutes a clear strategic advantage for us in building the leading LEO services platform and the ‘catalogue of the future’ for low Earth orbit.” – Dan Ceperley, co-founder and CEO