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Traffic control in space


Narrator:       This is Science Today. The space environment has become increasingly crowded with satellites, which many of us rely on every day. But when these satellites have expended their fuel, run out of batteries or their solar rays are dead, they become space junk. Since these dead satellites can potentially collide with active ones, government agencies have contacted the national laboratories for help tracking them. Space scientist John Henderson of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory says they're planning to launch a few small satellites in the summer of 2012 that are prototypes of a system they developed and patented to keep better track of space debris.

Henderson:    I'm part of a really good team of people here at Livermore, where we've got the supercomputing people, the modelers, people doing sensors so you can go through and predict what would the radar see, what would the optical sensor see when we design the satellite system to supplement and enhance the current capabilities.

Narrator:       Henderson adds that their system, which is being assembled and tested now, will be much more accurate than current technology. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.