The emergence of commercial suppliers of SSA data, short for space situational awareness, has led to a rethinking of how the Defense Department should invest its SSA dollars.
Still in testing mode, the U.S. Air Force Space Fence on Kwajalein Atoll detected India’s March 27 anti-satellite test and issued a break-up alert.
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has transferred operations of a telescope designed to track objects in Earth orbit to the U.S. Air Force, ahead of a move of that telescope to Australia.
Europe’s fitful attempt to create an independent space surveillance network took a step forward June 16 when five nations formed a consortium to coordinate their existing optical and radar tracking telescopes in a five-year effort funded by the 28-nation European Union.
NGA Director Robert Cardillo said the agency must be poised to take advantage of a burgeoning Earth imaging satellite industry but also recognize how the surge in available data could aid the decision-making of the country’s enemies.
European governments appear to have missed a big opportunity for costs savings with the French Defense Ministry’s decision to move ahead with plans to procure a pair of dedicated military communications satellites from a pair of domestic manufacturers.
Two high-orbiting U.S. Air Force space surveillance satellites that launched in July must show “unprecedented” maneuvering accuracy given their potential to cause damage in a heavily used belt of Earth orbit.
U.S. Strategic Command and the European Space Agency will share space situational awareness data, the organizations announced Oct. 30.
The United Kingdom on Sept. 23 became the latest nation to sign a space surveillance data-sharing agreement with United States.
Advocates here acknowledged that the conversation has gradually shifted from whether the U.S. government should be sharing space situational awareness to working out the mechanics of how and when to do so.
Both are setting up similar, privately owned capabilities to tap what they see as an emerging market to sell orbital data to government and commercial customers.
The U.S. Air Force launched three satellites that are expected to provide a significant boost to the service’s space surveillance capabilities.
The United States, Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada have signed a memorandum of understanding to work more closely together on space situational awareness activities.
The EU space code of conduct does not offer the United States tangible benefits and potentially places greater burdens and restrictions on the nation.
The U.S. Air Force is hoping to bridge a potential gap in on-orbit space surveillance capabilities with a small satellite launching as soon as 2017.