WASHINGTON — U.S. Space Command announced July 1 it has signed a data-sharing agreement with the Libre Space Foundation, a non-profit that promotes open access to information about space.

“Space situational awareness, which requires these types of cooperative agreements in order to achieve efficiency and effectiveness, is one of many approaches used to ensure all responsible space-faring nations continue benefitting from this critical domain,” the commander of Space Command Gen. James Dickinson, said in a news release.

Papadeas Pierros, executive director of the Libre Space Foundation, said the organization supports “open data and data sharing as a way to enhance space exploration and space safety.” He said the agreement with Space Command “is a step towards achieving safer space operations for all.”

The Libre Space Foundation, based in Greece, was founded in 2015.

U.S. Space Command said data sharing is increasingly important as space becomes more congested. “Mega constellations are quickly filling the available orbits. Commercial companies are launching 60 or more satellites at a time and China has announced plans to launch more than 13,000 satellites for a new constellation in the coming years,” the command said. 

As more countries, companies and organizations deploy satellites, “it is in our collective interest to act responsibly, promote transparency and enhance the long-term sustainability, stability, safety and security of space,” Dickinson said. “The best way to do that is to get a picture of what is going on up there.”

The memorandum with the Libre Space Foundation was signed July 1 by U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michael Bernacchi, Space Command’s director of plans, strategy and policy. It marks Space Command’s 100th commercial space situational awareness data sharing agreement.

 Space Command has signed space data-sharing agreements with 26 nations, two intergovernmental organizations and three academic institutions that own, operate, launch or provide services to satellite operators.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...