Cooperation in Space Situational Awareness Essay

Cooperation in Space Situational Awareness Essay

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Today, every branch of the U.S. military relies on space in some capacity to carry out its mission. Concurrently, it is becoming more difficult for the U.S. to retain its leadership role among countries that operate satellites and for the country to remain free to operate in space. One of the greatest of the challenges to operation in space that has become increasingly important over the last ten years is that of space situational awareness (SSA). As the number of objects in orbit grows, and as more and more new organizations, both commercial and governmental, operate in space, the problem is only going to become more challenging. In order to continue its primacy in space, the United States must lead the effort to develop a common framework for sharing SSA information with other nations and corporate space operators. This should be a coordinated effort to integrate SSA for U.S. government, allied and partner nation’s governments, and commercial space users. The best way to garner international support for this program is to make it the responsibility of a new international agency for SSA.
Current Status of Space Situational Awareness

Space Situational Awareness has been defined by General Fogleman (ret.), former Air Force Chief of Staff, as the idea that “the United States of America ought to know any time anybody sends something into space, what it is, what its function will be, and we ought to be able to track that at all times.” Breaking this definition down yields two significant parts: time of launch data and lifecycle monitoring. The focus of this paper will be on lifecycle monitoring. The goal of the U.S. having the ability to independently track every object sent into space at all times is not reasonable. Th...


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“USA Moves Ahead with Next-Generation ‘Space Fence’ Tracking,” Defense Industry Daily. 02 Jun 2011, accessed 13 Nov 2011, http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/Air-Force-Awards-First-Phase-of-Next-Generation-Space-Fence-05511.

Weeden, Brian. “The numbers game: What’s in Earth orbit and how do we know?” The Space Review. July 13, 2009, http://www.thespacereview.com/article/1417/1.

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