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With space junk posing an increasing threat to Indian assets in space, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is building up its orbital debris tracking capability by deploying new radars and optical telescopes under the Network for Space Objects Tracking and Analysis (NETRA) project. Significance
  • The primary goal of Netra is to monitor, track, and defend national space assetswhile also serving as a centre for all space situational awareness (SSA) activities.
  • The initiative would provide India with its own space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities,similar to that of other space powers, which is used to ‘predict’ dangers to Indian satellites from debris.
  • The ultimate purpose of NETRA is to capture the GEO (geostationary orbit) landscapeat 36,000 kilometres, where communication satellites operate.
  • space debris tracking radarwith a range of 1,500 km and an optical telescope will be inducted as part of establishing an effective surveillance and tracking network under NETRA.
  • The radar, which will becapable of detecting and tracking objects 10 cm and above in size. It will be indigenously designed and built.
  • To acquire a comprehensive SSA picture, ISRO will also employ theMulti-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) that has been set up at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, as well as the telescopes at Ponmudi and Mount Abu.
Need for Project NETRA
  • Radars and optical telescopes are vital ground-based facilities forkeeping an eye on space objects, including orbital junk.
  • To protect our space assets, we need to augment our capabilities.
  • For protecting its space assets, the ISRO was forced to perform 19 collision avoidance manoeuvres (CAM)in 2021, of which 14 were in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and five in the geostationary orbit.
  • After a spacecraft’s mission is over, it can be moved to a more secure orbi That is, a high-altitude “graveyard orbit”over low-Earth space.
  • Carrying out ‘collision avoidance manoeuvres.’
  • As a disposal technique,bringing it down via a laser into Earth’s atmosphere, where it will burn up on re-entry.
Reusable spacecraft can be developed.

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