Space Surveillance Telescope

DARPA's Space Surveillance Telescope program will demonstrate the ability to build a wide field of view ground-based system that can detect, track, and discriminate between very small, dim objects in deep space orbits. High sensitivity to find those small, dim objects -- and high search rates of the visible sky - these are usually difficult requirements to satisfy with a single telescope design. DARPA's Space Surveillance Telescope has achieved an effective compromise. The Space Surveillance Telescope is a three-and-a-half meter F-1 telescope with a large, curved focal plane array.

Combined with very fast step-and-settle capabilities, the Space Surveillance Telescope will enable a quick search of all deep space objects visible from a ground site multiple times a night. This telescope system will indicate precisely where objects are, where they are going, and give an overall idea how stable they are.

The Air Force will participate in the DARPA funded developmental testing of SST and then take over operation of SST as a sensor in the Air Force Space Surveillance Network. An MOA has been established with Air Force Space Command for transition at the conclusion of Phase II that is anticipated to be completed in FY 2009.

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