March 4, 2021

Space Command to broaden alliance networks that help track orbital traffic

2 min read

To get details about what’s going on in space, the United States Space Command runs with a close-knit network of allies as well as private corporations. As operations in space increase and the Pentagon fears about Chinese missiles threatening United States satellites, the command is also looking to extend its network of the data-sharing collaborators. How do we create an image of space? How are we going to know who is in the domain and working there? Kept asking Major General DeAnna Burt, who oversees the United States Space Command’s Arm of Multinational Space Operations. At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Burt operates the Combined Force Space Component Command, which manages the Combined Space Operations Center.

Crews from the United States as well as allied countries monitor room at the CSpOC. During an interview with the SpaceNews, Burt said that one of the problems facing Space Command is the need to capture a full image of what is happening in space, which has been a dynamic undertaking for civil government, military as well as private sector operations. For the air, ground, and maritime realms, the military has detailed intelligence. Burt stated, “We have to construct the same image for space.”

With 25 countries that exchange space situational info, Space Command has entered into an agreement. These data were used to classify the positions of space junk as well as satellites so that crashes can be avoided. At Vandenberg, several nations have operators mounted. Representatives from both Canada and Australia are working at the CSpOC full time. The “multinational space cooperation cell” of the Space Command comprises France, Germany as well as the United Kingdom. Burt stated more nations would be added to the alliance, but which ones could not be confirmed. General John Raymond, ex-Commander of the United States Space Command, told legislators on Capitol Hill that preparations were underway to connect Japan, Italy as well as South Korea to the various space cooperation cells.

Space Command also obtains information from the “commercial integration cell” community of the commercial satellite operators. In the year 2015, when the United States Strategic Command operated space surveillance, the CIC began as a pilot scheme.   The plan was to put in more data from the satellite operators to boost the military’s space situational understanding. Hughes Network Systems, Iridium Communications, Intelsat, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, SES Government Solutions, Maxar, Viasat, XTAR are currently included in the CIC. Burt said that in the coming years, SpaceX is set to join the CIC. “Discussions are underway,” she added.

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