LeoLabs to build space radar in New Zealand to track debris

Space radar in Alaska. Image courtesy of LeoLabs.

LeoLabs, Inc., a US-based provider of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mapping and Space Situational Awareness (SSA) services, has announced a broad-based agreement to build its next LeoLabs Space Radar in New Zealand. This establishes New Zealand as the site for the first commercial radar of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and will be the first of LeoLabs’ next generation space radars capable of tracking debris as small as 2cm in low Earth orbit (LEO).

The company also announced signing an agreement with New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to promote the creation of applications and services that enhance New Zealand’s contribution to the space industry. In addition, the company disclosed that the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) participated in LeoLabs’ recently completed Series A round of financing.

The phased-array radar announced for New Zealand will complement two existing LeoLabs radars in North America, and will be completed in mid-2019.

“New Zealand is a multi-decade strategic decision for us,” said Dan Ceperley, LeoLabs CEO. “The threats posed to a viable LEO economy and a sustainable space environment escalate with every launch. Our goal is to build out the LeoLabs global space radar network at a pace to match that threat. New Zealand represents the ideal location and partner to take that next step forward.”

“I am thrilled to be able to welcome LeoLabs to New Zealand to be part of our Innovative Partnerships Programme. Innovative Partnerships is all about helping future focussed companies collaborate, innovate and connect here in New Zealand. Innovation doesn’t happen in isolation and we welcomes companies like LeoLabs that share our vision to come to New Zealand and explore what we can achieve together,” said Megan Woods, New Zealand’s Minister for Research, Science and Innovation.

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