Advanced Space Applies Machine Learning to Detect and Track Space Debris
Advanced Space LLC., a leading space tech solutions company, has been selected to apply machine learning (ML) capabilities to identify and track space debris for the SINTRA program. Space debris poses a significant threat to space operations, and Advanced Space aims to revolutionize the global space community’s understanding of this problem through their participation in the program.
The team, led by Advanced Space and including Orion Space Solutions and ExoAnalytic Solutions, will utilize advanced ML techniques to detect and identify small debris ranging from 0.1-10 cm in size. This new Space Debris Identification and Tracking (SINTRA) contract from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) will allow them to develop the capability to maintain persistent knowledge of the debris population.
Principal Investigator Nathan Ré highlights the exponential growth of space debris and the need to mitigate it. He notes that space debris threatens all activity in space and that Earth’s orbit will become unusable if the Kessler syndrome is not addressed. By participating in the SINTRA program, the team aims to enhance the global space community’s knowledge of the space debris problem.
Currently, less than 1 percent of mission-threatening debris is tracked, despite there being over 100 million objects greater than 1 mm orbiting the Earth. The Advanced Space team’s solution, the Multi-source Extended-Range Mega-scale AI Debris (MERMAID) system, will comprise a sensing system to collect data, ML models for detecting and characterizing debris below the threshold of traditional methods, and a comprehensive catalog of this information.
A noteworthy aspect of their solution is the use of ML methods to decrease the Signal-to-Noise-Ratio (SNR) required for detecting debris signatures in optical and radar data. By bringing scale and automation to the challenge of monitoring orbital debris, Advanced Space aims to support the sustainable exploration, development, and settlement of space.
– Advanced Space, Orion Space Solutions, and ExoAnalytic Solutions: (not a source URL)
– Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA): (not a source URL)