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LeoLabs

LeoLabs is pleased to announce that we will provide our Launch and Early Orbit tracking service to SpaceX’s customers as part of their SmallSat Rideshare Program. Drawing on the success of providing this service to satellite operators on the Transporter-1 mission, LeoLabs will provide this support to users for the next six Transporter missions plus multiple smaller rideshares. LeoLabs Launch and Early Orbit is a real-time operational satellite tracking service that has been proven to help satellite operators reliably identify and establish contact with their payloads, with data deliveries beginning just hours after mission launch.

SpaceX’s willingness to provide this…


Last week, LeoLabs officially unveiled the latest radar in its global network — the Costa Rica Space Radar. This post will take a closer look at this important addition to our operational capabilities for tracking objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).

The Costa Rica Space Radar

The Costa Rica Space Radar is located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, and was built by LeoLabs with local guidance and logistical support from the government of Costa Rica and our partners at Ad Astra Rocket Company. For us, choosing Costa Rica was a strategic investment and crucial for enabling space sustainability for generations to come.

On…


LeoLabs is pleased to announce a commercial agreement with SpaceX to support tracking of Starlink satellites during the initial on-orbit phase of missions. Under this partnership, SpaceX utilizes LeoLabs Launch and Early Orbit service to track all Starlink satellites beginning immediately after deployment, providing SpaceX with rapid orbital location and identification support during the first few days of new missions.

“LeoLabs is excited to work with SpaceX as they launch the world’s largest constellation of satellites to provide global broadband internet access,” said LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley. …


On July 12, 2020, LeoLabs detected a breakup event of a Japanese H-2A debris object (NORAD ID 43673) in space. The event was first reported by the 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SPCS) reporting an approximate breakup time of 08:44 UTC:

Upon receiving this news, the LeoLabs team rapidly looked at our tracking data for this object and immediately saw clear evidence of the breakup. This post will take a closer look at our evidence for this event and what exactly we observed.

For each LeoLabs radar observation, our automated processing system takes the collected measurement data and generates…


As any experienced satellite owner-operator knows, the first hours and days following a satellite launch can often be the most precarious. It can be challenging to locate and establish initial communications with your spacecraft in a timely fashion, especially on rideshare missions where there may be multiple other operator payloads released in close proximity to your own. As rideshare missions continue to add more payloads and launch more frequently, operators will require additional resources for getting crucial mission support immediately after their launch.

LeoLabs is answering this call with a new capability to support the Launch and Early Orbit Phase…


For the past year and a half, we’ve been hard at work maturing our capabilities to accurately identify and monitor potential collisions in LEO. We activated our internal conjunction screening service in early 2019, a first of its kind system that performs a continuous full catalog search for potential collisions and stores hundreds of thousands of conjunction data messages (CDMs) to our cloud-based servers every day. We continued to refine our system, study the data, and even publicly report some of the high risk events our system detected such as the IRAS/GGSE-4 close approach of January 2020.

Now, we are…


There’s a lot of growth happening in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Over the next 5–10 years, we expect at least an order of magnitude increase in the number of operational satellites to be launched. However, not all satellites are distributed evenly in LEO. Just as we have varying amounts of driving traffic on different roads (e.g. back country roads vs. interstates), there is a parallel here for space as well. Some orbits are more advantageous to be in than others for operational satellites, and are thus more crowded.

The most notable of these orbits is referred to as a Sun-Synchronous…


At LeoLabs, we track nearly 14,000 objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and continuously screen for potential collision events 24/7. While we always have notable events of interest to study, the close approach this week of the IRAS and GGSE 4 satellites turned out to be one of the closest calls we have seen to date, and one with high potential impact due to the significant sizes of the defunct satellites. In this post we will summarize the details of this event and the data we collected for it.

Event Details

The two satellites involved in this event are well known by…


One fun and interesting thing to explore on the LeoLabs platform is the visualization of all the objects we are tracking in Low Earth Orbit. At https://platform.leolabs.space/visualization you can see a stream of the locations of roughly 14,000 objects over the past 24 hours. In the menu on the upper-left of the screen, you can choose the playback speed and selectively display objects by name, country of origin, altitude, and other criteria. You can also directly interact with the globe via the cursor to rotate around or zoom in to areas of interest, and click on individual objects to show…


In addition to tracking thousands of objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with our network of phased-array radar systems, LeoLabs also searches for potential conjunction events that can pose a danger to satellite operators. Our system detects and analyzes roughly 800,000 potential collision scenarios each day.

The vast majority of high risk conjunction events are not between active satellites, but rather between inactive objects such as orbital debris, spent rocket bodies, or inactive satellites.

This is not surprising, since only about 10% of the objects currently tracked in LEO are actively working satellites. …

LeoLabs

Tracking space debris in Low Earth Orbit. https://leolabs.space

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