China begins construction of new survey telescope to detect space debris

China has started to build a new survey telescope array that will mainly be used to detect space debris in medium and high orbits, the first of its kind in the country.

The multi-application survey telescope array, developed by the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, is expected to be completed by 2023.

It’s under construction in the town of Lenghu, in northwest China’s Qinghai Province, with an average elevation of 3,800 meters above sea level. The site was chosen for the plateau region’s clear night sky.

A researcher at the Purple Mountain Observatory said, “The survey telescope array can detect small space debris and determine its orbit and operation law, thus providing early warnings and making it possible to avoid debris collisions threatening the safety of spacecraft.”

In the future, Lenghu is expected to become the largest astronomical observation base in China and a world-class astronomical research center.

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