Hensoldt has agreed to cooperate with the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology FHR with the aim of transforming the technology demonstrator GESTRA (German Experimental Space Surveillance and Tracking Radar) into a series-production ready, operationally deployable system called Custodian. “Based on the GESTRA technology, a global network of ground-based radar systems can be established to monitor near-Earth space,” explains Professor Peter Knott, institute director of Fraunhofer FHR. “The goal is to detect and track space debris, which increasingly poses a threat to space travel and to the deployment and operation of satellites.”
The prototype was developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Technology FHR on behalf of the German Space Agency at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The radar is currently in operation at the Schmidtenhöhe site training area near Koblenz, where it is providing initial proof of performance. Another component of the DLR contract is, among other things, the commercialization of the technology by a suitable industrial partner. Following a call for tenders in an international competition, Fraunhofer has now awarded the rights for series production to Hensoldt.
“This project is a beacon of German capability, founded on close cooperation between cutting-edge research and a high-tech company,” says Peter Schlote, member of the Hensoldt Executive Committee and Head of the Radar Division. “It enables Germany to build an important national capability in the field of a key technology and at the same time make a valuable contribution to international partnerships.”
Dorothee Frank, Head of editorial team