PARIS: The French Space Command is expanding and diversifying its sources of information concerning the space environment by subscribing to WeTrack, a global network of radio-frequency (RF) sensors designed, owned and operated by Safran Data Systems.
The WeTrack service tracks geostationary satellites, detects their manoeuvres and monitors geostationary orbit in general. RF technology enables the 24/7 real-time positioning and manoeuvre detection of satellites in geostationary orbit.
With the positioning and manoeuvring data delivered by WeTrack, operators can easily and clearly distinguish between two satellites very close to each other, track them and provide a very accurate measurement of the distance separating them. With the advent of new space-borne threats and the growing number of objects orbiting the Earth, space surveillance has become a major challenge for nations seeking to protect their strategic and economic interests.
“Our space defence strategy makes space situational awareness a key to meeting our country’s objectives in this area,” said head of the Space Command, French Air Force Major General Michel Friedling.
“In 2019 the Minister of the Armed Forces therefore announced the creation of a programme called ARES (Action et Résilience Spatiale), covering all space surveillance and action capabilities. Our strategy recommends a mixture of legacy capabilities and procurement of services. We quickly signed an initial service contract with Safran Data Systems, providing for the delivery of radio-frequency sensed data, improving our ability to detect, locate and especially characterise active objects in space. This is an invaluable asset, and provides an excellent fit with optical observation capabilities.”
Jean-Marie Bétermier, CEO of Safran Data Systems, added: “The French Space Command’s selection of our service reflects global recognition for the people who designed and operate WeTrack. It’s also a clear signal from the space sector, showing that the convergence of commercial means and national missions is very much a reality, enabling us to rise to the emerging challenges of space surveillance and traffic management.” –shp/mgm (PHOTO: Safran)