The current Transastra Sutter ground telescope test model, comprising four telescopes, moved in early April to the Winer Observatory, where over two months it tracked multiple small, dark, fast-moving objects by collecting about 50 extended images every night built from over 6,000 exposures taken over an eight-hour period.
They will launch a cubesat in 2023 that will detect hundreds of near-earth asteroids.
In 2026, Transastra will launch three satellites each with 109 small 30 cm telescopes. They will position themselves at L2, L4 and L5 to observe the earth-moon area. They will be able to track every object down to cubesat size and even smaller. They will be able to track all modest sized space debris. They will be able to find 300 times more near earth asteroids than are currently known.
Near earth asteroids are easier to reach than the moon. They can be reached with smaller rockets.
They have software that improves the sensitivity by over 100 times. They track the faint blur of moving objects and predict the movement across multiple image frames.
The success of this capability means being able to track all kinds of fainter moving objects in space. This will mean better and better tracking of space debris and smaller rocky objects.
Even more telescopes and improved software should see the followup to the 2026 mission have continually growing capabilities. The techniques could also be used to find darker objects in the Asteroid belt, Kepler Belt and Oort comet cloud.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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