LED satellite

Satellites with flashing LEDs could help avoid catastrophic collisions

By Jonathan O’Callaghan

The flashing lights from LEDSAT should make it easier to see from Earth

NASA’s VIIRS NPP / Finland / Miguel Roman / Joshua Stevens / Paolo Marzioli

A small satellite launched in early 2021 will test a novel method of tracking satellites in orbit – using light emitting diodes (LEDs) that flash to transmit their position to the ground.

LEDSAT, a cube-shaped satellite with a size of about 10 centimeters on each side, is equipped with 140 LEDs on its surfaces. These flash every few seconds, enough to be visible to observers and to indicate the location and even the orientation of the satellite. The solar powered satellite is available for at least …