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The US Space Force is calling for a dialogue on spaceflight safety and orbital debris

ByAdam Kowalski

Mar 25, 2021

When more spacecraft are deployed into space, the need to maintain the universe secure and define the road’s regulations for the orbital operations is becoming more apparent. Lt. Gen. B. Chance Saltzman, deputy director of space operations, stated the United States Space Force needs to get ahead of the conversation. On a webcast sponsored by the Brookings Institution on 19 March, Saltzman stated, “I believe we ought to be a pioneer in both assisting formulate laws and tenets of good action in the room.”

As a result of a series of Russian anti-satellite missile tests and reports that the proliferation of both the satellites and debris is increasingly cluttering Earth orbit, the issue of what it implies to act safely in space has gained growing importance. All teams, according to Saltzman, require rules. “At this stage, we’re just part of this space domain. We’re just near one another. What does it imply to act responsibly enough that everybody will benefit from it and try to achieve what they require to do to pursue their goals peacefully?”

According to the Space Force, this subject is an expansion of what the military does in other realms such as the oceans and airspace. According to Saltzman, establishing laws and standards has been achieved for thousands of years in the marine world and generations in the air environment. “The more we come to one another in space, like in other realms, the less secure it is,” he said. As a result, we need to start learning about how we can communicate nearby so that we don’t inadvertently or intentionally disrupt the activities of another satellite.”

Saltzman believes the Space Force can “play a key role” in the fight against space debris. According to him, debris is difficult to detect with military radars and telescopes, and it presents a danger. And a tiny particle traveling at five miles per second produces a “considerable volume of energy that can create complications.” “We need to make sure we’re utilizing protocols and sound practices that restrict debris around the board,” Saltzman said. “When you make such debris events, they last for a long time.”

Some issues would take time to resolve, he said, which would necessitate lobbying and negotiation. “It’s about collaborating with friends to figure out what the best ground rules are.” “On how we should go about producing fewer debris on orbit as well as taking control of it,” Saltzman added, the Space Force teaches and educates its staff.

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