The US space forces are developing a global system to detect objects at a distance of up to 36 thousand km, in deep space, where a large number of military satellites are located. The Defense Department said the new radar capabilities could make space “safer and more reliable.”
This comes amid growing concerns about congestion, competition and even an arms race in space. The United States and Britain are accusing Russia and China of developing weapons that can be used to destroy satellites. Last year alone, more than a thousand new satellites were launched into space, including ten by the US military.
The US Space and Rocket Systems Center is now developing plans to create an advanced deep space radar system (Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability —DARC).
The radar will consist of 10-15 parabolic antennas (large satellite dishes) for tracking and 4-6 antennas for transmitting information. In total, the object will occupy an area of about 1 sq. km. The diameter of each radar antenna will be 15 m.
The US already has an early warning system for detecting ballistic missiles in space, which includes a service based at RAF Fylindales in North Yorkshire. But radar systems at the secret RAF base can only detect objects up to 20,000 km away. The new DARC system will be able to see much further.
According to engineers, it will be able to detect an object the size of a football at a distance of up to 36,000 km.