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ESA operates an Optical Ground Station in Tenerife, Spain. The 1m telescope can detect objects as small as 10-20 centimetre is size - most of which are not otherwise discovered or catalogued.
ESA's 1-metre Optical Ground Station (OGS) operates on the island of Tenerife, about 12 km east of the Teide, which is in Spain's Canary islands. Currently, nearly 50 percent of the observation time is used to observe space debris. The OGS can detect objects in geosynchronous orbit fainter than a visual magnitude of 20. This corresponds to objects as small as about 10 to 20 cm.
Given the fact that the US catalogue of space objects has a size threshold of 1 m in geosynchronous orbit, ESA's telescope continuously detects 'unknown' objects. It even detected a new class of debris with very high area-to-mass ratios, which was previously not known to exist. With this unique telescope, ESA is at the forefront of space debris research.
In this Forum presentation, ESOC's R. Jehn will cover the telescope, the CCD camera and recent results of sky surveys; a remote-control simulation will also be presented.