UK Joins List of US Allies Agreeing To Strengthen Space Surveillance Sharing

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WASHINGTON — The United Kingdom on Sept. 23 became the latest nation to sign a space surveillance data-sharing agreement with the United States.

The signing, which came during the Combined Space Operations Principals’ meeting in Ottawa, Ontario, follows U.S. Strategic Command’s adoption in May of a new sharing strategy aimed at providing more detailed space situational awareness information to its closest allies.

“We are pleased to finalize this data sharing agreement with the UK, one of our closest allies,” Navy Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of Strategic Command, said in a Sept. 25 press release. “These agreements are mutually beneficial, provide for greater space flight safety, increase our national security and enhance our 24/7 global operations.”

The United States has similar agreements with Canada, Japan, Australia, Italy, France and the Republic of Korea. In all, the U.S. government has signed nearly 50 data-sharing agreements with other governments and private sector entities, Defense Department officials said in September.

U.S. officials have said the agreements allow for the government to streamline requests for information from the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

“It is in our collective interest to act responsibly, to promote transparency and to enhance the long-term sustainability, stability, safety, and security of the space joint operating area,” Haney said.

The shared data include information used for launch support, satellite maneuver planning, troubleshooting of on-orbit anomalies, electromagnetic interference reporting, satellite decommissioning activities and on-orbit conjunction assessments.