Space Domain Awareness Part of Cornwall Launch5th Jul 2022
London based Lumi Space will build tracking instruments for Space Forge’s ForgeStar-0, Space Forge announced on 30th June. Lumi Space’s laser retroreflector will be a first in the commercial satellite industry. The retroreflectors are a step in building up both sustainabillity in the space environment and improving space domain awareness.
Emphasis on Space Domain Awareness
The move by Space Forge to include Lumi Space’s retroreflector is part of the implementation of a long-term plan by the UK to improve its understanding of the space environment. The impetus comes from the late 2021 publication of a new Space Domain Awareness (SDA) Study, which has an eight-step SDA roadmap for the UK.
The UK Space Agency commissioned the report. You can download the Space Domain Awareness Study here.
The eight recommendations are as follows:
- Maintaining International Collaboration
The UK should attempt to main strong global ties, including CSpO, Five Eyes, and ESA partners.
“Outside of ESA, the UK should look to establish, where not already extant, bilateral data-sharing agreements with Five Eyes partners and other nations to continually ensure access to a wide variety of high-quality data.”
- SDA Strategy
To cohere academic, military, civil, and industry entities, a cross-government SDA strategy and vision is needed.
- National Space Sustainability Research Institute
A National Space Sustainability Research Institute should be considered to coordinate and simplify funding in research and innovation activities.
“The funding mechanism for academic research should be revised to remove some of the main barriers to new and novel research. Primarily this should seek to simplify the application procedure, making funding available across various research councils – as recognition that the space sector underpins our way of life in all other sectors. The funding available also needs to be significant and long-term to ensure research can be taken through to deliverable capability.”
- Data Accuracy Study
A study should be commissioned to evaluate the benefit/cost of improving data accuracy to determine the point of diminishing returns. It is advisable that a set of target figures conclude the study, with accuracy improvements over a timeframe to 2030.
- R&D for Sensor Improvements
More sovereign sensors should be invested in to enhance the UK’s sensing capability and worldwide credibility.
- Space Service Desk
A national space operations centre is recommended, bringing together commercial, military, and civil sectors, enabling SST data exploitation, collection, and consolidation.
- SDA Advisory Group
The establishment of an advisory group for the SDA to guide and advise on the developing SDA capability in the UK.
- Collaboration Marketplace
The final recommendation is the creation of a collaboration marketplace to facilitate academic research in keeping up with industrial demand.