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USSPACECOM Turning to ‘Non-Traditional’ Sensors to Enhance Space Domain Awareness

Monitoring space

USSPACECOM Turning to ‘Non-Traditional’ Sensors to Enhance Space Domain Awareness

The U.S. Space Command’s top officer revealed ongoing efforts to enhance the military’s space-monitoring capabilities. Gen. Jim Dickinson said the command’s current top priority is increasing awareness of the space domain by using, among others, “nontraditional sensors” that can be integrated into existing systems on the ground and in orbit, Breaking Defense reported Friday.

Speaking at the Air Force Association’s annual conference in Orlando, Dickinson said current efforts have led the command to explore ground- and ship-based missile defense platforms as sources of real-time insights on what is happening beyond Earth’s atmosphere. He said taking advantage of sensors that are not traditionally used for space domain awareness may augment the command’s capabilities.

Specifically, USSPACECOM has turned to missile defense sensors in its new approach, integrating them into a sensor network that “provides a common operating picture that gives much more fidelity.” He said that missile defense platforms that have found additional roles in space monitoring include the AN/TPY-2 radars used for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system and the Navy’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system.

Dickenson added that aside from finding expanded uses for existing sensors in the Department of Defense’s inventory, USSPACECOM is thinking about future systems that may be acquired to deliver unprecedented capabilities.

He said that the DOD’s leadership has been talking about integrating commercial and allied data into the Space Surveillance Network, which comprises 30-odd sensors around the world. However, this effort is being impeded by USSPACECOM’s aging computer systems and software for managing the SNN, Dickinson explained.

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Category: Space

Tags: Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense AN/TPY-2 radar Breaking Defense Jim Dickinson sensors space space domain awareness Space Surveillance Network US Space Command