The United States Space Command head calls for the civilian space traffic management

To contend with military airspace problems, the United States Air Force has air traffic supervisors, but the Federal Aviation Administration does have ultimate responsibility for aviation security. For the space area, the United States Space Command commander wants a similar structure, stated on January 26. In an online session at the Mitchell Institute, Gen. James Dickinson stated that space is about to get crowded, and the country wants the FAA counterpart for space traffic. Space Command is among the eleven combatant commands of the Department of Defense formed to defend and protect the space field. At Vandenberg Air Force Base, which is situated in California, crews allocated to Space Command hold the watch on over 27,000 objects in orbit, estimate the risk of crashes and give satellite operators alert.

In 2018, the Trump administration appointed the Department of Commerce to handle the Defense Department’s space traffic control duties. All organizations are working on an implementation strategy, although it is unclear how the tasks for space traffic control will be reallocated. Dickinson added that he supports the transition to the Department of Commerce of the space traffic control “where it could be properly handled,” he stated. That will make it easier for Space Command to concentrate on controlling space operations that impact national security. He said that Space Command and officials from the Commerce Department have really been working together to map a way forward over the last two years.

Dickinson said that earlier rather than later, space traffic management needs to be worked out. “Our orbital systems are becoming far more congested,” he added, noting that this is not the responsibility of the military. Any of it is either commercial operation or space debris. And it’s only going to get more congested when we look into the future. In the air domain, the way traffic is handled a reasonable example to adopt, he added. “Air traffic management is the responsibility of the FAA. Despite our air combat control obligations, however, the military does have a piece of that.”

It is supposed to have a similar position to what the FAA agency is doing today as Commerce stands up its office of the space traffic, “which is to ensure that we have a secure and reasonable environment where trade can take place,” Dickinson stated. Commerce also asked the Office of the Space Commerce for about $10 million to establish a new space traffic control agency beginning in the financial year 2020. Today, the nation runs under temporary stopgap funds, and it is not known whether Congress will approve federal departments’ appropriations bills.

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