Radar site in Azores will add critical tracking of on-orbit materialNews
June 07, 2023
MENLO PARK, Calif. Space-domain awareness provider LeoLabs announced the commissioning of its Azores space radar site, located on Santa Maria Island in the Azores, off the coast of Portugal.
According to the LeoLabs announcement, the Azores site is a new addition to the company's global network of sensor-based phased-array radars that perform continuous monitoring of space objects and characterization of events in space in low Earth orbit (LEO). The Azores site, say company officials, sits at a strategic location in the Atlantic, closing a critical gap in longitude coverage in Europe and Africa, and increasing the frequency of observations. An estimated 96% of cataloged operational satellites and space debris pass through the radar's field of view. The Azores radar site also is able to discover, track, and catalog objects under 10 cm (3.93 inches), which are currently untracked.
Ricardo Conde, president of Portugal's Space Agency, said of the addition: "This important investment by LeoLabs supports the global commitments and initiatives to space safety, security, and sustainability. The strategic location of the radar in Santa Maria reinforces the centrality of Azores in the Atlantic, and fills a critical gap in coverage that will allow us to mitigate the risks of rapidly growing space debris in LEO."