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NSF Taps OpticalX to Work on Small Space Debris Tracking Technology

Computational optics

NSF Taps OpticalX to Work on Small Space Debris Tracking Technology

The National Science Foundation and OpticalX are developing a computational optics solution for tracking centimeter-sized debris in space.

On Monday, OpticalX announced that it had received a Small Business Innovation Research Phase I contract from NSF to work on computation optics that would be used in detecting and tracking small space debris in low Earth orbit.

The SBIR contract is part of an initiative to address the threat posed by small space debris to operational spacecraft, OpticalX said.

Hasan Bahcivan, chief scientist at OpticalX and the project’s principal investigator, said that with space debris threatening spacecraft orbiting the Earth, computational imaging provides significant support in detecting numerous moving objects without knowing their positions or velocities.

He added that the findings from the initiative will also enhance understanding of how artificial intelligence could support the delivery of effective imaging systems for space surveillance.

The U.S. government has been investing to address space debris proliferation. In August, NASA provided funding to six small businesses to develop prototypes of deorbiting or repurposing space debris technologies.

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Category: Space