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US Space Command’s John Shaw Calls for Maneuverable Satellites

Surveillance operations

US Space Command’s John Shaw Calls for Maneuverable Satellites

Lt. Gen. John Shaw, deputy head of the U.S. Space Command, said on Thursday that maneuverable platforms are expected to grow more prominent in the next five years of space activities. Speaking at a Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies event, he noted that what he calls positional space operations may no longer suffice for certain surveillance efforts against adversaries.

Shaw explained that such operations, which involve the deployment of satellites in fixed orbits with minor position adjustments to stay in place, will likely remain in practice for communications and national security systems.

He contrasted positional operations with maneuverable platforms, which he characterized as emerging capabilities that will continuously move around and change their energy state to meet surveillance needs.

According to Shaw, one program that could benefit from increased maneuverability is Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness, under which satellites are used to monitor the performance of other platforms and any suspicious activity by those belonging to adversaries.

He explained that having more dynamic capabilities could create new advantages against U.S. rivals, the Department of Defense said.

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Category: Space