GESTRA - a phased-array based surveillance and tracking radar for space situational awareness
Space debris is an ongoing and growing problem for space-based infrastructure. The rising population of man-made debris particles has the potential to destroy operational satellites and spacecrafts. In order to avoid the risk of collisions it is of cardinal importance to locate, track and identify artificial objects orbiting the earth. Therefore, it is necessary to develop technologies related to surveillance radars. On behalf of the Federal Government the German Space Administration (DLR) commissioned the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) in 2015 to develop and design a new phased-array radar to monitor the low-earth orbit. This so-called German Experimental Surveillance and Tracking Radar (GESTRA) will support the German Space Situational Awareness Center to generate a catalogue of orbital data for objects at altitudes of less than 3000 km. Incorporating state of the art technology, the concept of the new GESTRA radar system will provide high quality data sets.