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Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt Speaks About Ongoing Transition of Space Traffic Management Authority

Space traffic management

Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt Speaks About Ongoing Transition of Space Traffic Management Authority

Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt, special assistant to the vice chief of space operations at the U.S. Space Force, attended an annual Air Traffic Control Association event on Nov. 7 to talk about a planned transfer of space traffic management operations to the Office of Space Commerce. At present, a U.S. Space Command squadron oversees safety for space flights undertaken by nonmilitary satellite operators, SpaceNews reported Monday.

The transition is called for by a 2018 Trump administration policy directing the Department of Commerce to handle collision avoidance activities. The rationale behind the move is that it frees up the Department of Defense to focus on space access and freedom of movement.

According to Burt, DOD has been the de facto authority on space traffic because of a “preponderance of assets on orbit,” but noted that private sector spacecraft have begun to outnumber those of the defense agency. She added that the new arrangement would have DOD be in charge of responding to “suspicious” occurrences rather than routine activities.

Burt highlighted ongoing efforts to establish a communication system between the Commerce and Defense departments such as weekly meetings between working groups. Specifically, the two parties are looking to figure out how data is exchanged, quantified and secured.

To that end, the Commerce Department tasked LeoLabs in September to prototype a data and services delivery infrastructure for space traffic management.

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Category: Space