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NASA is quietly helping satellite firms avoid catastrophic collisions


Scientist

NASA is quietly helping satellite firms avoid catastrophic collisions

By Mark Harris Orbit can be a dangerous placeKonstantin Shaklein / Alamy Stock PhotoNASA has been quietly helping select satellite companies avoid catastrophic collisions in orbit – for a price. Documents obtained by New Scientist show that in September, NASA renewed an agreement with satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies to help protect four of the…

NASA is quietly helping satellite firms avoid catastrophic collisions

By Mark Harris

Broken satellite

Orbit can be a dangerous place

Konstantin Shaklein / Alamy Stock Photo

NASA has been quietly helping select satellite companies avoid catastrophic collisions in orbit – for a price.

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Documents obtained by New Scientist show that in September, NASA renewed an agreement with satellite imagery company Maxar Technologies to help protect four of the firm’s WorldView satellites. The spacecraft collect high-resolution images for customers including the US Department of Defense and Google Earth.

According to the documents, NASA analysts will predict close approaches with other spacecraft or orbital debris, and provide Maxar with timely warnings, allowing the firm to move its …

Article amended on
6 December 2019

We corrected the name of Maxar’s satellites

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