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New IARPA Program Seeks to Improve Tracking of Small Space Debris

Space Debris

Identification and

Tracking program

New IARPA Program Seeks to Improve Tracking of Small Space Debris

The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity has launched a program to enhance the monitoring of small space debris

IARPA Program Manager Alexis Truitt was selected to lead the four-year Space Debris Identification and Tracking program, which was created in view of the risks centimeter- and millimeter-sized orbital junk pose to operational space assets and space missions, IARPA said.

Reports from the NASA Office of the Inspector General and the National Science and Technology Council in 2021 noted that small pieces of debris are most likely to cause harm to space missions in low-Earth orbit; however, less than 1 percent of such orbital junk are tracked and characterized.

Previously, a piece of space debris too small to be tracked damaged the International Space Station’s robotic arm called Canadarm2.

Truitt recognized the importance of small debris tracking, given the increasing space activity of public and private sectors. He also raised concerns about foreign anti-satellite military operations that caused national security risks and massive debris fields, such as China and Russia’s anti-satellite weapons tests.

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Category: Space

Tags: Alexis Truitt Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity NASA space Space Debris Identification and Tracking