16th February 2018
Elecnor Deimos Space Surveillance & Tracking Centre (Deimos Sky Survey, DeSS) has been featured in a double-page in the February 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine. Inaugurated in May 2016, Deimos Sky Survey is an advanced complex located in the south of Spain and dedicated to the detection and tracking of near space objects.
DeSS telescopes allow the identification of satellites and other space objects, like space debris or NEOs (Near-Earth Objects). This way, Deimos Sky Survey provides services through European and national Space Surveillance and Tracking programmes (such as the Spanish Space Surveillance and Tracking programme, S3T, managed by the Spanish Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology), with the objective of protecting space assets from collisions with space debris, as well as to alert civil protection services in case of reentry.
Elecnor Deimos space surveillance centre drew the attention of the prestigious publication, which sent the photographer Luca Locatelli to spend 3 days and 2 nights shooting the operations of Deimos Sky Survey’s robotic telescopes, located in a privileged natural environment with dark skies optimal for space observations. With the support of Noelia Sánchez Ortiz, director of Space Situational Awareness at Elecnor Deimos, Jaime Nomen, director of the observatory, and the rest of the team, this spectacular image featured in the February 2018 issue of National Geographic magazine was obtained, among many others.
WATCHING THE SKY: Three telescopes of the Deimos Sky Survey, based in Spain, watch for close asteroids and man-made space debris that could damage satellites, as an airplane streaks across the sky. Noelia Sánchez Ortiz, an aerospace engineer, and Jaime Nomen, an astronomer and the head of the observatory, monitor the instruments. LUCA LOCATELLI for National Geographic Magazine.
“What impressed me the most was the effort of the National Geographic team to obtain the perfect photograph, trying and trying until they got it. Every single photo they took was wonderful, but it is true that when Luca said: ‘We got it’, that one was different, truly unique. It had something that they rest, as good as they were, had not. It was simply the photo he was looking for. He came with it in mind and he got it. It is a great satisfaction to see people with that love for perfection in their work. Besides, it was amazing to see how a photograph can be fantastic without any editing. The image shown above is exactly what Jaime and I saw in Luca’s camera, with the help of Mickey ‘painting the photo in real time’” says Noelia Sánchez Ortiz.