Think Tank: U.S. Should Expand SSA Responsibility

by

The U.S. military should involve civil space agencies and other spacefaring nations in its effort to improve its space situational awareness (SSA) capabilities, according to a Sept. 10 report by the Secure World Foundation, a think tank headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The report, “Going Blind: Why America is on the Verge of Losing Its Situational Awareness in Space and What Can be Done About it,” calls for an entity to hold competitions involving academia, government agencies and industry to select algorithms and other standards for SSA activities. Under the recommendation, those standards would become the foundation for government SSA activity implementation, according to the report.

The primary provider of U.S. capabilities has traditionally been the military but certain core functions, including the management of the satellite catalog and warning of potential collisions, should be shifted to a nonmilitary entity, according to the report.

The think tank also recommends de-classifying the location of U.S. military satellites that are easily tracked, including large satellites in low Earth orbit and broadcasting satellites in geostationary orbit. The current classification policy limits the ability of the United States to improve its SSA data sharing capabilities because it hinders cooperation with commercial companies and allies.