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Maxar is providing a new space monitoring service to help track objects in orbit

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Maxar is providing a new space monitoring service to help track objects in orbit

High-definition earth-imaging satellite operator Maxar Technologies has received regulatory approval to use its satellites to monitor the space environment and sell the data commercially.

A license to provide ground-based imagery allows commercial remote sensing satellites to observe objects such as other satellites and orbital debris.

Maxar aims to leverage this capability to meet growing commercial and government demand for debris monitoring and space domain perception data, company CEO Daniel Jablonsky said in his Sept, told  at his Air, Space & Cyber ​​conference on the 20th.

Jablonski said the company’s space surveillance services can support national security priorities, from tracking objects to analyzing their properties and distinguishing between benign and aggressive orbital activity. Maxar’s four imaging satellites, currently in orbit, are capable of observing the space environment at all times, but changes to the new remote sensing license recently approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) make it “not commercially viable.” We can do it in minutes,” said Jablonsky.

Vice President Kamala Harris said the council would review regulations across the space industry to make the United States more competitive.

He said it was a long-standing goal for Maxar to secure license approval given the congestion and debris hazards on the track. Jablonski said the Biden administration’s National Space Council “has done a good job of making viable commercial capabilities commercially viable. And I think it’s a great example of that.”

For Maxar and other industry operators, having accurate data on potential orbital threats has a significant financial impact. Jablonsky noted that in 2016, the WorldView-2 imaging satellite, then operated by DigitalGlobe, collided with untracked debris. Since he acquired DigitalGlobe in 2017, Maxar has stepped up its commitment to better spatial situational awareness and traffic management.

After the debris incident, the company used one of his other satellites to image his WorldView-2 and determined the damage was minimal. But to do so, they had to obtain permission from NOAA to take images of their own satellites under licensing agreements at the time.

The ground imagery license also applies to Maxar’s six WorldView Legion satellites, which Maxar plans to launch later this year.

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