Russia establishing asteroid defense center
March 12, 2013
After a meteor shower in the Sverdlovsk and Chelyabinsk regions of Russia injured more than 1,000 people, Russian officials have begun to speed up development of protection measures against future space threats. Fortunately, substantial groundwork has already been laid.
Russia's Federal Space agency began making upgrades to space monitoring systems before the meteor hit, a space industry source recently told Interface-AVN. According to the source, "The Feb. 15 event in the Chelyabinsk region proved that the system was crucial." The system would scan the sky for potential threats and measure the orbit parameters of potentially dangerous objects once detected. In addition to performing this constant search, the network would also predict which areas objects could endanger.
Further work is underway to supplement this protection. Priorities include heightened efficiency of observation of small space objects and debris, cataloging them and testing asteroid defense methods. Research missions to potentially dangerous asteroids are also a subject of focus. Roscosmos, the Defense Ministry and the Russian Academy of Sciences are working in conjunction to establish a center dedicated to these goals.
"The country has enough money but it is divided between departmental programs," said Vladimir Popovkin, Roscosmos head.