Redwire to demonstrate a security camera for military satellites

In an article by SpaceNews, Sandra Erwin describes a recent announcement by Redwire to demonstrate what would be an in-orbit security camera that can be networked and track orbital debris, other spacecraft, and potential hazards. The security camera would utilize any spacecraft’s navigational camera and be augmented by ExoAnalytic’s space-tracking machine-vision software. The software can likely be loaded onto any satellite with a camera, which could revolutionize space situational awareness. Multiple satellites with Redwire’s cameras would essentially create a network of orbital security cameras.

The demonstration is planned to take place later in 2023 as a SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission on June 12th successfully launched the Starfish Space Otter Pup spacecraft into orbit. Starfish Space is a satellite-servicing startup company that has partnered with Redwire for the demonstration.

Quoting the article: “The Otter Pup aided by the palm-sized camera will attempt to rendezvous and dock with the Orbiter in a rehearsal of a satellite life-extension mission. After that task is completed, Redwire will upload ExoAnalytic’s space-tracking algorithms to the camera and try to operate it as a space domain awareness sensor. The sensor will perform star tracking and space object detection, Bellamy said. The camera has on-board processing and storage for two catalogs, one for stars and one for resident space objects.”

Two cameras paired together can provide 360 degree coverage of a spacecraft and space situational awareness data can be shared with other organizations, such as the US Space Force. The CPU usage required for onboard video processing may be significant due to the cameras, however, it may be that the traditional star trackers can replaced by the system – reducing the power required and increasing the spacecraft’s reliability overall.

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