Though the West Texas city of Midland is primarily known for oil, it is also becoming known as a metro that is developing the space industry. The Midland International Air & Space Port received its Commercial Space Launch Site license from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2004. The spaceport is home to XCOR Aerospace Research and Development, and Orbital Outfitters.
Now, LeoLabs’ Midland Space Radar, located on city-owned property known as the T-Bar Ranch, is running. The radar is the first in a worldwide network LeoLabs wants to build to map space debris that is making trouble in low Earth orbit.
That space debris can damage multimillion-dollar satellites; even a dime-size piece of debris can ruin equipment. LeoLabs was launched to protect the equipment. “The Midland Space Radar is the first built to provide commercial tracking services,” LeoLabs’ CEO Dan Ceperley told the Midland Reporter-Telegram.
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