ISRO SSA Control Centre-NETRA

Indian Space Research Organisation has recently set up a dedicated control centre for Space Situational Awareness (SSA) activities in the country, called NETRA. NETRA is Network for space object Tracking and Analysis (NETRA). The project aims to monitor, track and protect space assets of India. Very few countries such as Russia, US have their own Space Situational Awareness Centres. The ISRO SSA Control Centre has been set up within ISTRAC campus at Bengaluru.

About NETRA

  • NETRA will basically track objects both natural and man-made in the satellite orbits. Tracking such objects is called Space Situational Awareness (SSA). It is the science of tracking objects to provide collision warnings. This is highly important as the space is getting over crowded with private and government satellites. They pose serious threats to satellites orbiting the earth.
  • The main elements of NETRA are an optical telescope, a radar and a control centre.
  • It will act as a hub of all the SSA activities within India.
  • It will conduct concurrent processing of data from the upcoming observational facilities for space objects’ orbit determination, catalogue generation and correlation.
  • The centre however does- not carry any provisions to remotely operate its observational facilities. For instance, the Indian Astronomical Observatory located in Leh, Ladakh is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bengaluru. Such remote operations will not be undertaken by NETRA.
  • The core activities of NETRA include timely dissemination of advance alerts on collision avoidance of space assets, approach analysis between ISRO satellite and launch vehicles and prediction of atmospheric re-entry of rocket bodies or derelict satellites. Derelict Satellites are the satellites that are in poor condition due to disuse or neglect.

Background

As of January 2020, there are more than two thousand active satellites orbiting the earth. Also, there are more than 23,000 pieces of space debris. These larger space debris are larger than ten centi-metres.

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