U.S., Belgium Partner on Space Situational Awareness
A recently signed memorandum of understanding expands U.S. Strategic Command’s data sharing consortium.
U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) entered into an agreement with the Belgium Federal Science Policy Office (BELSPO) to share space situational awareness (SSA) services and information. The arrangement is expected to enhance awareness within the space domain and increase the safety of spaceflight operations.
Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier, USAF, USSTRATCOM director of plans and policy, signed a memorandum of understanding formalizing the arrangement on February 7 at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. Elke Sleurs, Belgium’s secretary of state for science policy, signed on January 31 in Brussels.
“Our space systems underpin a wide range of services, providing vital national, military, civil, scientific and economic benefits to the global community,” said Gen. John E. Hyten, USAF, USSTRATCOM commander, in a written statement. “Enhancing space situational awareness is absolutely vital in this congested and contested domain.”
“For a country such as Belgium having implemented an advanced regulation for space activities, the support from USSTRATCOM is a precious instrument in achieving compliance with our international commitments as well as a sustainable use of outer space,” Sleurs added.
Belgium joins 11 nations (the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, Israel, Spain, Germany, Australia and the United Arab Emirates), two intergovernmental organizations (the European Space Agency and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites) and more than 50 commercial satellite owner/operator/launchers already participating in SSA data-sharing agreements with USSTRATCOM.
SSA data-sharing agreements enhance multinational space cooperation and streamline the process for USSTRATCOM partners to request specific information gathered by USSTRATCOM’s Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The information is considered crucial for launch support, satellite maneuver planning, support for on-orbit anomalies, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation, satellite decommissioning activities and on-orbit conjunction assessments.