TransAstra and Celestron Partner to Advance Space Domain Awareness with Uniquely Powerful and Economical Telescope Systems
September 27, 2022
LOS ANGELES, Sept. 27, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Orbital logistics and space mining leader TransAstra Corporation has partnered with commercial telescope manufacturer and optics industry leader Celestron to jointly develop uniquely powerful and economical ground- and space-based telescope systems that will be sold globally to commercial and government customers. The new products promise to advance the fields of space domain awareness and asteroid prospecting by significantly improving the industry’s ability to locate and track faint moving objects in space, at a fraction of the cost of existing technology.
The agreement, signed earlier this month, enables Celestron, a highly-trusted commercial brand, to expand its product offerings on the ground and into space. For TransAstra, which develops advanced space technologies, the agreement provides very affordable, high quality optical hardware the company needs to progress key space domain awareness and asteroid prospecting projects.
The ground-based telescope system will be designed as a turnkey solution for customers including aerospace companies and government agencies. It will unite Celestron’s highly-regarded, off-the-shelf RASA (Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph) telescopes with TransAstra’s groundbreaking Optimized Matched Filter Tracking (OMFT) software, allowing many small scopes to work together to function as a single unit, providing unparalleled power and cost effectiveness.
TransAstra has proven that its patent-pending OMFT technology can enable telescopes to locate and track small, dark, high-speed objects, such as asteroids, satellites, and orbital debris in real time, with 100 times greater strength and accuracy than existing telescopes at a fraction of the cost. The software is at the core of TransAstra’s Sutter Telescope System, which successfully completed its first round of field testing in July.
“With Celestron as a valued partner, we are able to develop a turnkey version of the Sutter telescopes,” said TransAstra CEO Joel C. Sercel. “By marrying our Optimized Match Filter Tracking System with an off-the-shelf telescope that only costs a few thousand dollars we can make a system powerful enough to track objects in deep space, rivaling telescopes that cost much, much more.”
The companies have also agreed to work together to build a space-based version of Celestron’s RASA telescopes equipped with TransAstra’s patent-pending OMFT software and electronics qualified for use in space. To be space qualified, a telescope’s parts must be able to withstand the rigors of being launched into and functioning in space for extended periods. These rigors include radiation exposure, wide temperature swings, and the vibration and shock loads of launch.
“Celestron’s patented RASA optical design, with its large aperture, fast F/2.2 focal ratio, large field of view, and unprecedented value, is ideal for Space Situational Awareness applications” said Celestron CEO Corey Lee. “As we were designing and engineering the RASA, we dreamed of putting these instruments up in space one day. Through our exciting partnership with TransAstra, we look forward to making that dream a reality.”
Space-based telescopes, as opposed to those in ground-based observatories, provide better visibility of deeper space because they avoid the atmospheric distortion, light pollution, and adverse weather conditions that reduce the visibility of traditional terrestrial telescopes and can operate in orbits that allow better viewing angles for enhanced visibility.
“By space qualifying the RASA telescopes and outfitting them with the patent pending TransAstra software and electronics, we will also be able to create the cornerstone for future, more complex iterations of the Sutter space telescope system,” Sercel said.
The new space-qualified telescope will be marketed and sold jointly.
Founded in 2017, TransAstra (TransAstra.com) is a U.S. orbital logistics and space mining company advancing the industrialization and settlement of space through the sustainable and ethical development of critical, dual-use space infrastructure technologies powered by the resources of space and the energy of the sun. The 2021 YCombinator alum, which is headquartered in Los Angeles, has been issued 5 patents and has more than 10 additional patents pending.
Celestron envisions a global community where astronomy is accessible to everyone. More than 60 years ago, Celestron’s founder Tom Johnson invented a method to mass-produce the Schmidt corrector plate, making large telescopes available for amateurs to explore the Universe. Since then, the California-based company has grown to become the world's most recognized telescope brand and a major provider of advanced optics for educational institutions and other professional applications. Its groundbreaking Rowe-Ackermann Schmidt Astrograph (RASA), launched in 2014, has revolutionized space surveillance, allowing private companies to track small objects from the ground for a fraction of the cost of prior technologies. To learn more about Celestron's products and innovations, visit Celestron.com.