The US company LeoLabs Inc. will inaugurate the “most advanced special radar on the planet” in Costa Rica this April, as published by the Costa Rican astronaut Franklin Chang, on March 10th, through his social networks.
Chang – the Costa Rican project manager through his company Ad Astra – assured that the radar, located in Guanacaste, will catapult the country “to the front and center of the space age with unimaginable opportunities for our young people and for future generations, in new industries. and skills of immense value to our economy.”
Tracking space debris
LeoLabs provides information on the state of the space orbit, so that satellites or other debris present in it can be mapped. With the Costa Rican radar it will be possible to identify and project the location of artifacts of up to 2 square centimeters, in low Earth orbit (between 200 and 2,000 kilometers above the earth’s surface).
The American company was founded in 2016 and has similar radars in Alaska, Texas and New Zealand. Its executive and co-founder, Edward Lu, was a former NASA astronaut, where he met the Costa Rican Franklin Chang, with whom he coordinated this project. Locating artifacts in low orbit is essential for public and commercial companies around the globe, increasingly venturing into space exploration and launching through guided objects.
In July of last year, during the official launch of the project, the astronaut Lu that his company chose Costa Rica for its “national and strategic commitment” with the space industry. He also stressed that accessing a mapping from Costa Rican territory will allow “increasing the safety of space travel” and “preserving critical ecosystems”, among other tasks.
Closing an important gap
For his part, the founder and Chief of Technology, Mike Nicolls, highlighted the value of locating a radar in the equatorial zone of the planet, with the aim of “closing an important gap in the tracking of satellites and space debris”.
In addition to the low orbit, there are artifacts and junk in the medium and high orbit; however, radars cannot reach those distances. For example, GPS radars can be located up to 15,000 miles away.