Air Force to automate tracking of space debris

Air Force personnel charged with tracking space debris in orbit to ensure that it doesn't interfere with operational satellites will begin using a new suite of automated equipment later this year to perform the complex task, reports Philip Ewing at DOD Buzz.

Air Force Chief of Staff Norman Schwartz said recently that the service plans to replace the nearly 30-year-old manual system used by personnel at the Joint Space Operations Center (JSPOC) with the first increment of the new system toward the end of 2012.

The next-generation tracking apparatus, known as the JSPOC Mission System, will feature improved processing of sensor observations that track approximately 22,000 manmade objects in orbit, the story said.

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