The Australian-based company will provide the Department of Commerce with tracking, monitoring and collision avoidance services that utilise an international network of radars.
The contract comes as the U.S Department of Commerce has signed an agreement with the Department of Defense to cooperate on a new space traffic management system.
The Department of Commerce was given the responsibility for tracking civil and commercial spacecraft in 2018, to allow the Department of Defense to focus on managing growing threats to U.S military satellites.
Leolabs currently operates six radar arrays across four international locations, with operations to begin at two more locations by the end of the year.
These are the Western Australian Space Radar located near the town of Collie, Western Australia, and the Azores Space Radar in Portugal.
The company also plans to continue expanding its network to up to 20 radar arrays by 2025.
LeoLabs currently services more than 60 per cent of all satellites that are active in low Earth orbit.
Speaking on the deal, CEO and co-founder of LeoLabs, Dan Ceperley said:
“LeoLabs was founded to drive innovation in Space Traffic Management, therefore we look forward to working with the US Government on this effort to ensure the continued success of the space industry."
The framework agreement between the Department of Commerce and the Department of Defense came was announced during the second public meeting of the National Space Council.
The National Space Council, chaired by Vice president Kamala Harris, was re-established in 2017 by the White House and aims to coordinate U.S government policy on space matters, with a goal of ensuring the U.S capitlises on the lucrative emerging space sector.
Don Graves, the deputy director of the Department of Commerce, also signalled that this would be just the first of multiple moves by the department in the space situational awareness domain.
“[The department is] starting a series of important space situational awareness data buys, including Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary data, and we’re going to follow that up with other awards focused on those and other orbital regimes.”
The Department is aiming to have a comprehensive management system for space traffic that will be utilised in the commercial space sector for years to come.
“That’s really going to allow us to have not just a basic level of space traffic awareness, it will also allow us to drive the research, the innovation that we all know we need to maximize the space environment for future generations,” he said.
Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.
Send Liam an email at: [email protected]
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