Russia’s own data on near-Earth objects – including military satellites not covered by the open catalog of the North-American warning system NORAD – could soon be made publicly available as a comprehensive database, Russian media report.
Russia is planning to set up a free database on thousands of near-Earth objects, including those not publicly listed in open catalogs of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), Izvestia newspaper reported on Tuesday.
NORAD doesn’t only track Santa at Christmas – its database also provides details on thousands of satellites launched, destroyed or still functioning. While the catalog does not disclose data on America’s own military or dual-use satellites (or those of allies – Japan, France, Germany and Israel among them), as Izvestia says, it does feature Russia’s defense satellites.
At a Vienna meeting of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space in mid-June, Russia proposed to create a similar UN-run database “collecting, systemizing, sharing and analyzing information on objects and events in outer space.” Such an international database would be available to any country that has capabilities in the areas of human spaceflight, launches or satellites.
Russia’s written proposal presented at the meeting encouraged governments to share their own data banks on “scheduled and performed space launches” as well as “functioning space objects and in-orbit operations.”
“Our network spots approximately 40 percent more [space] objects than you can find in open American databases,” Igor Molotov, senior research fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the newspaper.
“We have several times more telescopes … than NORAD,” he said, adding that Russian observation stations are able of covering larger areas of space because of better weather conditions.