Автор Тема: LeoLabs  (Прочитано 4701 раз)


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« : Апрель 17, 2020, 02:42:32 »

Satellite-tracking firm LeoLabs opens for business with $4 million banked

Satellite-tracking startup finally out from under the radar

With $4 million in the bank and two radars tracking satellites and debris in low Earth orbit, Silicon Valley startup LeoLabs is now open for business.

LeoLabs began operating a phased-array radar in Midland, Texas, in February. With data from the new Midland facility and a radar near Fairbanks, Alaska, LeoLabs can track 94 percent of all objects 10 centimeters or larger in low Earth orbit, Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs founder and chief executive, told SpaceNews.

Low Earth orbit has become increasingly crowded in recent years as the cost of building and launching small satellites has fallen. That crowding is likely to worsen in the next few years as companies pursue plans to launch constellations of communications and Earth observation satellites.

“There is more congestion,” Ceperley said. “The sooner we can get out ahead of this, the better off everybody is going to be.”

LeoLabs plans to expand its radar network until it can track all objects measuring two centimeters or larger in low Earth orbit, or approximately 200,000 objects. The company aims to reach that goal in 2018.

“This small debris can do severe damage to satellites and it is not being tracked,” Ceperley said.

LeoLabs has shied away from publicity since it was founded in Menlo Park, California, in December 2015 by Ceperley and Mike Nicolls, the firm’s chief technical officer. Both founders came from SRI International, the nonprofit research organization where Ceperley led a team focused on commercial satellite tracking and Nicolls built phased-array radars to study Earth’s ionosphere.

The problem with Nicolls’ data was that his radars were constantly picking up signals from satellites and debris, which he had to remove to focus on the ionosphere. Eventually, Nicolls and Ceperley realized they could use the dataset for both scientific research and commercial satellite tracking. When the business case became clear, SRI spun out LeoLabs.

“Right out of the gate we had data, radar hardware and we could begin building the radar in Midland,” Ceperley said. “It enabled us to get up and running quickly to address this need.”

LeoLabs has raised $4 million in an initial investment round from a consortium that includes Horizons Ventures, a venture capital firm based in Hong Kong, and Airbus Ventures, the aerospace giant’s early-stage investment group.

Airbus Ventures is backing LeoLabs because it anticipates a dramatic increase in congestion in low Earth orbit in the coming decades. “As great investments are made in areas such as constellations of satellites to provide affordable internet access, it’s imperative that technology be developed simultaneously to protect these investments,” François Auque, the former chief executive of Airbus Group’s defense and space business who leads Airbus Ventures European investment activities, said by email. “LeoLabs is providing the vital technology to reduce collisions between debris, satellites, and other items that will enter low earth orbit in the future. The company provides comprehensive communications and early warning detection. We are proud to support them as they refine their phased-array radar systems to track even smaller debris at an even more exacting range.”

Before turning on the Texas radar in February, LeoLabs tracked satellites and debris using the radar SRI began operating in Alaska in 2007 with funding from the National Science Foundation. That radar continues to provide SRI with scientific data as LeoLabs uses it for spacecraft tracking.

In February, LeoLabs completed installation of its Texas radar, which has more than 100 radar elements. Nicolls designed the Texas radar, which is shaped like one side of a snowboarder’s halfpipe, specifically to pick up the weak signals produced when radar waves bounce off satellites and debris in low Earth orbit.

LeoLabs uses the Alaska radar to track objects in polar orbit. The Texas radar is particularly useful for tracking satellites and debris near the International Space Station, which passes over the site, Ceperley said.

After testing its products in recent months with initial customers, LeoLabs is welcoming new customers. “We believe this is the first commercial service for low Earth orbit tracking,” Ceperley said.

Satellite operators can hire LeoLabs to track spacecraft when they first reach orbit. “We can help track satellites immediately after they are delivered to space and in the first critical weeks so operators know where their satellites are and when they are going to pass over ground stations,” Ceperley said.

LeoLabs also offers a collision avoidance service to notify customers when an object is headed for their satellites. “Everything can be fully automated,” Ceperley said. “You don’t have to pick up a phone and call us and say, ‘We need help.’ We have a software interface that lets different organizations connect to us machine-to-machine.”

LeoLabs is a lean operation with eight employees and radar sites the firm manages remotely. “Our network of radars collect data that we feed automatically into a cloud-based platform for processing and dissemination to customers,” Ceperely said. “As this network grows, the cloud-based platform will scale to reflect more observations, accuracy, and add redundancy.”

LeoLabs new radar in Midland, Texas, came on line in February 2017. Credit: LeoLabs


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Re: LeoLabs
« Ответ #1 : Апрель 17, 2020, 02:45:10 »

LeoLabs unveils commercial satellite tracking service for small satellites

LeoLabs, a space situational awareness company, unveiled a small satellite tracking service called LeoTrack Aug. 5 at the Small Satellite Conference here.

LeoTrack, which LeoLabs sells through web-based subscriptions, provides small satellite and cubesat operators with a range of services and information including spacecraft tracking, orbital state vectors, predictive radar availability, scheduled passes and visualization tools.

One thing that makes the service unique is its precision, Mike Nicolls, Leolabs co-founder and chief technology officer, told SpaceNews. LeoTrack can pinpoint the location of satellites to within something “on the order of a hundred meters,” and provide customers with “validated solutions and validated uncertainties on all of our objects we track,” he added.

Space-Track.org, the website that shares satellite tracking data from the U.S. Joint Forces Space Component Command offers precision measured in kilometers.

Several high-profile customers already subscribe to LeoTrack including BlackSky, Maxar Technologies, Planet and Swarm Technologies.

A standard, 12-month LeoTracks subscription costs $2,500 per month per satellite. LeoLabs will negotiate pricing with companies operating fleets of more than five or six satellites and with customers who have unique requirements like data licensing, Nicolls said.

With a subscription, customers gain access to the LeoTrack platform and its visualization tools. “You can visualize where your objects are now,” Nicolls said. “You can propagate them forward in time and you can embed the visualization in other applications.”

Swarm’s website home page includes a LeoTrack visualization. It shows the orbital locations of Swarm’s SpaceBee satellites, which are one-quarter the size of a single cubesat.

“At Swarm, we rely on the LeoTrack service to get accurate position information for all of our one-quarter-U satellites,” Swarm CEO Sara Spangelo said in a statement. “Having access to this data is key for us at initial deployment and throughout the lifetime of the satellites. We use it for operational purposes, to share with other space operators and for the general public on our website.”

LeoLabs tracks objects in low Earth orbit with phased-array radars in Alaska and Texas. The company is building another radar in New Zealand, which it plans to begin operating by the end of the year. LeoLabs also created a tool to help the New Zealand Space Agency  monitor satellites in low Earth orbit.

“Our goal at LeoLabs is to provide services to every satellite operator in low earth orbit from major constellation operators to university research satellites,” Nicolls said.

Swarm Technologies subscribes to LeoTrack to monitor the location of it's nine tiny SpaceBee satellites. This LeoTrack visualization shows their orbit paths. Credit: LeoLabs


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Re: LeoLabs
« Ответ #2 : Апрель 17, 2020, 02:45:50 »

LeoLabs and New Zealand announce tool to monitor low Earth orbit activity

LeoLabs, a space situational awareness startup, has created a tool to help the New Zealand Space Agency (NZSA) continuously monitor satellites in low Earth orbit, LeoLabs and NZSA announced June 25.

The cloud-based Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform relies on information from LeoLabs’ network of phased-array radars to track satellites in low Earth orbit. The mapping and software platform then analyses the data to ensure satellites launched from New Zealand are complying with licensing rules.

Companies and government agencies plan to send constellations of dozens, hundreds or thousands of satellites into low Earth orbit in the next few years, prompting concerns the heavy traffic could lead to satellites colliding with one another and create debris clouds.

“As a launching nation, we have a responsibility to minimize orbital debris and preserve space for future generations,” Peter Crabtree, general manager of New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which houses NZSA, said in a statement. “Understanding where objects are is the first step towards doing this.”

Through the Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform, NZSA can track the position, heading and orbit of individual satellites, view historical orbit records, obtain reports on changes in a satellite’s orbit and receive alerts when a satellite is not complying with its licensing agreement, LeoLabs said in a June 25 news release.

The New Zealand Space Regulatory and Sustainability platform is the first of its kind, Mike Nicolls, LeoLabs co-founder and chief technology officer, said by email. “However, every space agency and regulatory body engaged in [low Earth orbit] will require a similar baseline of tools and capabilities to perform their own oversight function, and LeoLabs intends to work to create a standard offering for all of these agencies, all based on our core [low Earth orbit] mapping platform,” he added.

Under the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, nations are responsible for authorizing and continually supervising satellites launched from their territory or their facilities. Rocket Lab began sending satellites into orbit from its New Zealand range in January 2018, two years after New Zealand established a space agency.

“The mission of the NZSA is to provide leadership and regulatory oversight for our rapidly expanding space sector,” Crabtree said. “Critical to achieving this mission is putting in place the tools and capability to monitor and ensure responsible and sustainable behavior. The Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform developed with LeoLabs is a significant achievement in this direction and demonstrates current best practices within the commercial space regulatory arena. It also affirms our intent to be proactive in addressing the preservation of space for future generations.”

In 2018, LeoLabs and the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment announced a memorandum of understanding to work together on various projects. LeoLabs plans to operate a phased array radar in Central Otago on New Zealand’s South Island. The parties also agreed to cooperate in space-related research and development activities.

Initially, NZSA will use the new platform to monitor satellites in orbit. In the future, the platform could be enhanced to assess collision risk and predict the location of objects re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, Nicholls said. The platform is “designed to reflect both the operational and the policy-oriented priorities of a regulatory agency, and help them evolve their parameters for compliance and responsible behavior,” he added.

Here's a screen shot from the Space Regulatory and Sustainability Platform developed by LeoLabs to help the New Zealand Space Agency track and monitor satellites in low Earth orbit. Credit: LeoLabs


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Re: LeoLabs
« Ответ #3 : Май 22, 2020, 23:26:38 »

LeoLabs unveils automated Collision Avoidance service

Silicon Valley space mapping startup LeoLabs unveiled a service May 13 to help commercial and government satellite operators avoid collisions with debris and other satellites in low Earth orbit.

LeoLabs operates three ground-based phased array radars to track satellites and debris in low Earth orbit. Drawing on the radar data, LeoLabs created a suite of cloud-based services, called LeoLabs Collision Avoidance, to alert customers to conjunctions and help them assess the risk of collisions.

When LeoLabs detects “a risky situation,” it automatically schedules time to make additional observations “so you’ve got increased confidence in your decision either to maneuver or not to maneuver,” Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs CEO and co-founder, told SpaceNews.

LeoLabs executives declined to comment on the price of the new service, which is designed for customization.

“No two constellations are the same,” Ceperley said. “Some want to do continuous collision assessment, some want to do it hourly and some want to do it daily.”

Although LeoLabs Collision Avoidance was designed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, its remote features could come in handy when many people are working from home.

“When a risky situation comes up, you probably have your satellite operators in the operation center and nobody else,” Ceperley said. A company’s orbital dynamics experts, for example, may be at home but they can still “bring their expertise to bear,” he added.

LeoLabs Collision Avoidance also promises to evaluate the merit of various maneuvers within seconds, Ceperley said. That feature will allow companies to “play through various scenarios and come up with the best solution,” he added.

Low Earth orbit, home to the International Space Station and Earth observation constellations, is increasingly dynamic thanks to the popularity of cubesats, small satellites and new communications constellations. LeoLabs plans to continue to expand its radar network to track small debris in low Earth orbit.

“Over the next 24 months, as LeoLabs adds additional high fidelity phased array radars to its global sensor network, LeoLabs Collision Avoidance will expand collision alerts to include previously uncatalogued small debris,” the company said in a May 13 news release.

Стартап по космическому картографированию Силиконовой долины LeoLabs представил 13 мая сервис, который поможет коммерческим и правительственным операторам спутников избежать столкновений с мусором и другими спутниками на низкой околоземной орбите.

LeoLabs управляет тремя наземными радарами с фазированной антенной решеткой для отслеживания спутников и мусора на низкой околоземной орбите. Опираясь на данные радаров, LeoLabs создала набор облачных сервисов, называемых LeoLabs Collision Avoidance, чтобы предупредить клиентов о соединениях и помочь им оценить риск столкновений.

Когда LeoLabs обнаруживает "рискованную ситуацию“, он автоматически планирует время для проведения дополнительных наблюдений,” так что у вас есть повышенная уверенность в своем решении либо маневрировать, либо не маневрировать",-сказал SpaceNews Дэн Чеперли, генеральный директор и соучредитель LeoLabs.

Руководители LeoLabs отказались комментировать цену новой услуги, которая предназначена для кастомизации.

“Нет двух одинаковых созвездий, - сказала Сиперли. "Некоторые хотят делать непрерывную оценку столкновений, некоторые хотят делать это ежечасно, а некоторые хотят делать это ежедневно.”

Хотя LeoLabs Collision Avoidance был разработан до пандемии COVID-19, его удаленные функции могут пригодиться, когда многие люди работают из дома.

“Когда возникает рискованная ситуация, у вас, вероятно, есть свои спутниковые операторы в операционном центре и никто другой, - сказал Сиперли. Эксперты компании по орбитальной динамике, например, могут быть дома, но они все еще могут “использовать свой опыт”, добавил он.

LeoLabs избежание столкновения также обещает оценить достоинства различных маневров в течение нескольких секунд, сказал Ceperley. Эта функция позволит компаниям “проиграть различные сценарии и придумать лучшее решение", добавил он.

Низкая околоземная орбита, где находятся Международная космическая станция и созвездия наблюдения Земли, становится все более динамичной благодаря популярности кубов, малых спутников и новых созвездий связи. LeoLabs планирует продолжать расширять свою радиолокационную сеть для отслеживания мелких обломков на низкой околоземной орбите.

“В течение следующих 24 месяцев, когда LeoLabs добавит дополнительные высокоточные радары с фазированной антенной решеткой в свою глобальную сенсорную сеть, LeoLabs Collision Avoidance расширит предупреждения о столкновениях, чтобы включить ранее не зарегистрированные мелкие обломки", - говорится в пресс-релизе компании от 13 мая.


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Re: LeoLabs
« Ответ #4 : Апрель 26, 2021, 21:20:48 »

New space radar in Costa Rica can track even tiny orbital debris

It can track objects the size of a golf ball traveling at up 30,000 kilometers per hour in LEO.

There's a new giant space radar in Costa Rica that can track orbital debris as small as two centimeters. It was built by LeoLabs, a company that provides commercial radar tracking services for objects in Low Earth Orbit, which has declared the site fully operational less than a year after breaking ground. LeoLabs CEO Dan Ceperley said it's the "most advanced commercial space radar of its kind" — one that's capable of tracking objects the size of a golf ball traveling at up 30,000 kilometers per hour.

The radar can keep an eye on both active satellites and space junk, which make up the vast majority of man-made objects found in LEO. They're also the risks LeoLabs' customers — made up of satellite operators, defense, space and regulatory agencies, insurance and scientific institutions — want to keep tabs on.

Space junk has increasingly occupied the Earth's orbit over the past few decades, and it's only bound to become a bigger issue in the coming years as private companies deploy more and more massive satellite constellations. Debris flying around in space is a huge threat to the ISS and future manned missions, giving rise to the need for a company like LeoLabs. Ed Lu, the company's co-founder, explains that "[t]he number one danger to astronauts aboard the International Space Station has been and is today the risk of orbital debris that is too small to be tracked by the US Department of Defense going through the hull."

Now that the Costa Rica site is online, LeoLabs now has full coverage of the Low Earth Orbit with its four existing radars. It plans to build more radars around the world to make sure it can keep up with the activities in Low Earth Orbit, which will most likely become even more congested in the future.
« Последнее редактирование: Апрель 26, 2021, 21:28:59 от Игорь »


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Re: LeoLabs
« Ответ #5 : Сентябрь 27, 2023, 22:11:49 »
Сообщают, что директор компании LeoLabs, возможно, объявит о демонтаже РЛС S-диапазона, расположенной на Огненной Земле.

Это станет серьезным ударом по НАТО в отношении слежения за спутниками на околоземной орбите и в части других возможностей РЛС S-диапазона, таких как отслеживание гиперзвуковых ракет и истребителей пятого поколения.