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Canada keeping an eye on the sky with NEOSSat


Canada is keeping an eye on the sky (courtesy: ESA/NASA)
Canada is keeping an eye on the sky (courtesy: ESA/NASA)

Staff writers

February 19, 2013 — Canada is building the first telescope capable of detecting and tracking asteroids and satellites.

Animation of NEOSSat (courtesy: Canadian Space Agency)
Animation of NEOSSat (courtesy: Canadian Space Agency)

The next time an asteroid or meteor zips past Earth, NEOSSat will be watching.

The Near-Earth Object Surveillance Satellite -- NEOSSat for short -- is set to launch on February 25, 2013.

It will circle the world in 100-minute intervals, 800 km above the Earth, searching for asteroids that may fly near our planet in the future.

The tiny orbiter, which can fit into a suitcase, will also be on the lookout for satellites and space debris that are on a collision path.

The technology represents Canada's contribution to an international effort to reduce space crashes and target future space mission routes.

NEOSSat will generate hundreds of images each day which will be analyzed and catalogued at the University of Calgary's NEOSSat science operations centre.

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