Orbital Traffic Management Study

Orbital Traffic Management Study
Orbital
Traffic
Management
Study
Final Report
21 November 2016
Prepared for:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Headquarters
Prepared by:
Science Applications International Corporation
.
Report on Space Traffic Management Assessments, Frameworks and
Recommendations
In reply to
Public Law No. 114-90, “U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act”
Title I, “Spurring Private Aerospace Competitiveness and Entrepreneurship”
Section 109, “Orbital Traffic Management”
21 November 2016
Produced by:
Authors:
Owen Brown, Ph.D., SAIC
Travis Cottom, SAIC
Michael “Mick” Gleason, Ph.D., SAIC
Matthew Hallex, SAIC
Andrew Long, SAIC
Edgar Rivera, SAIC
David Finkleman, Ph.D., SkySentry, LLC.
Theresa Hitchens, Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland, UMD
Moriba Jah, Ph.D., University of Arizona
David Koplow, J.D., Georgetown University Law Center
Ray Sedwick, Ph.D., James Clark School of Engineering, UMD
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 18 November 2016
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................................... i
List of Tables ................................................................................................................................................ iii
List of Figures ............................................................................................................................................... iii
Executive Summary...................................................................................................................................... iv
1.0 Introduction ........................................................................................................................................ 1
1.1 Definition of Terms .................................................................................................................. 1
1.2 Methodology ............................................................................................................................ 3
1.3 Risks: Driving the Need for an Improved Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework ......... 3
1.3.1 Consequences of Space Traffic Safety Incidents .......................................................... 3
1.3.2 Likelihood of Orbital Collision and Breakup ................................................................. 5
1.3.3 Assessing Risk and Applying Mitigation Strategies ...................................................... 7
1.3.4 Issues for Consideration in Risk Mitigation Efforts ...................................................... 7
1.4 Assumptions ........................................................................................................................... 10
1.5 Constraints ............................................................................................................................. 12
1.6 Objectives of a Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework ............................................... 12
1.7 Framework Conceptual Model .............................................................................................. 13
2.0 Presentation of Framework Alternatives ......................................................................................... 15
1. Private Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination .......................................................... 16
2. DOD-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Data Sharing ................................................... 17
3. Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Facilitation ....................................................... 18
4. Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination .................................................... 20
5. Civil-Based Space Traffic Management ........................................................................................ 21
3.0 Assessment of Framework Alternatives ........................................................................................... 22
3.1 Assessment of Alternative Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework ............................. 23
3.1.1 Private Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination (Option 1) ...................... 23
3.1.2 DOD-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Data Sharing
(Status Quo, Option 2)..............................................................................
24
3.1.3 Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Facilitation (Option 3) ................... 24
3.1.4 Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination (Option 4) ................ 25
3.1.5 Civil-Based Space Traffic Management (Option 5) .................................................... 25
4.0 Summary and Conclusions ............................................................................................................... 26
APPENDIX A Assessment of Best Practices and Industry Standards ..................................................... A-1
Overview......................................................................................................................................... A-1
Orbital Debris Mitigation Guidelines and Practices ....................................................................... A-1
International Organization for Standardization ............................................................................. A-2
NASA ............................................................................................................................................... A-3
Department of Defense .................................................................................................................. A-4
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New Missions for Consideration .................................................................................................... A-4
Private Best Practices, Guidelines, and Standards ......................................................................... A-5
Observations and Conclusions ....................................................................................................... A-5
APPENDIX B Assessment of Current Statutory Authorities and Regulations .........................................B-1
Federal Communications Commission ............................................................................................B-1
Department of Transportation ........................................................................................................B-2
Department of Commerce ..............................................................................................................B-3
APPENDIX C Treaties and Other (legally-binding) International Agreements........................................ C-1
Treaties and other (legally-binding) International Agreements...................................................... C-1
Space Traffic Management Requirements ...................................................................................... C-1
Orbital Debris................................................................................................................................... C-3
Non-Binding International Arrangements ....................................................................................... C-3
Evolving Non-Binding Space Traffic Management and Orbital Debris Requirements .................... C-3
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) – Working Group on Long-Term
Sustainability of Outer Space, 2010-2018 ....................................................................................... C-4
COPUOS Legal Subcommittee: New Agenda Item on Space Traffic Management (STM) ............... C-6
UN Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence-Building in Outer Space
Activities. 2011-2013 ....................................................................................................................... C-7
UN Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space ... C-8
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Recommendation ITU-R S.1003.2 (12/2010):
Environmental Protection of the Geostationary-Satellite Orbit ...................................................... C-9
Conclusion ....................................................................................................................................... C-9
APPENDIX D Assessment of Federal Government Space Traffic Management and Space Situational
Awareness Assets...................................................................................................................................... D-1
Mission Operations Assets ............................................................................................................. D-1
Space Situational Awareness Assets............................................................................................... D-1
SSA Functions .................................................................................................................................. D-2
SSA Products and Services .............................................................................................................. D-2
Space Catalog ................................................................................................................................. D-2
Conjunction Assessment (CA) Services........................................................................................... D-4
Data Sensors: United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN) .................................................... D-9
APPENDIX E Unique Human Spaceflight Safety Considerations ............................................................ E-1
Implications/Considerations............................................................................................................ E-5
APPENDIX F Risk Associated with Smallsats........................................................................................... F-1
APPENDIX G Assessment of Private Sector Information Sharing Activities ........................................... G-1
USSTRATCOM SSA Sharing Program............................................................................................... G-1
Private – Private/Private - USG Data Sharing ................................................................................. G-3
APPENDIX H Inherently Governmental
................................................................................ H-1
APPENDIX I U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act ......................................................... I-1
APPENDIX J NASA Study Contract Statement of Work .......................................................................... J-1
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APPENDIX K Approach and Plan ............................................................................................................. K-1
1.0 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... K-1
2.0 Implementation Plan ....................................................................................................................... K-2
2.1 Step 1: Formulate ....................................................................................................... K-2
2.2 Step 2: Research......................................................................................................... K-2
2.3 Step 3. Synthesize ...................................................................................................... K-3
2.4 Step 4. Strategize ....................................................................................................... K-3
APPENDIX L Interview and Workshop List ............................................................................................. L-1
LIST OF TABLES
Table 1. Breakdown of Current Space Objects ............................................................................................. 8
Table 2. Space Safety Governance Framework Objectives......................................................................... 12
Table 3. Framework Stack Model Elements, Descriptions, and Examples ................................................. 14
Table 4. Results of PRA for Odds of MM/OD Root Cause Event on ISS .................................................... E-1
Table 5. Current and Future Private SSA Providers ................................................................................. G-3
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1. Orbital Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework Models ..................................................... 13
Figure 2. Frameworks Compared to Objectives.......................................................................................... 23
Figure 3. USG SSA Architecture Overview................................................................................................ D-2
Figure 4. Number of Tracked Space Objects within U.S. Space Catalog .................................................. D-3
Figure 5. Spatial Density (Population Density) of Tracked Objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) .................. D-3
Figure 6. JSPoC Conjunction Screening Process ....................................................................................... D-4
Figure 7. Confirmed COLA Maneuvers Due to CDMs............................................................................... D-7
Figure 8. Space Surveillance Network (SSN) Overview ............................................................................ D-9
Figure 9. Overall ISS MM/OD Approach.................................................................................................... E-2
Figure 10. MM/OD Hits ............................................................................................................................. E-3
Figure 11. ISS Debris Avoidance Maneuvers (DAMs) since 1999.............................................................. E-4
Figure 12. Debris Population by Size......................................................................................................... F-2
Figure 13. Distinct Organizations supported through SSA Sharing Program ........................................... G-2
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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
As stated in Section 109 of Public Law (Pub.L.) No. 114-90, “U.S. Commercial Space Launch
Competitiveness Act.”:
“It is the sense of the Congress that an improved framework may be necessary for space traffic
management of United States Government (USG) assets and United States private sector assets in outer
space and orbital debris mitigation.” 1
Further, that law provides direction to make “recommendations related to the appropriate framework for
the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the public and economic vitality of the space industry.”
Directed assessments of relevant policy, regulations, international considerations, technology, and
operations topics have been conducted. These assessments provided the foundation for developing,
evaluating, and recommending alternate frameworks for the management of space traffic and orbital
activities.
Orbiting spacecraft and the space environment in which those spacecraft operate are critically important.
In this decade, a new focus has been appropriately made on the defense and protection of spacecraft to
ensure the continued flow of information to and from space. Just as there is risk to spacecraft that must
be mitigated through defense and protection, there is risk to spacecraft because of the possibility of
unintended collisions and physical interference from space objects in intersecting orbits. The likelihood
of such events is low, but the consequences can be high, especially in cases involving crewed spacecraft.
Therefore, it is in the U.S. national strategic and economic interests to have an improved domestic space
traffic safety governance framework (Framework) that specifically aims to mitigate and reduce the risk of
possible space traffic safety incidents, while at the same protect the economic vitality of the space
industry. Likewise it is important to enable the Department of Defense (DOD) to focus on its space
protection and defense mission operationally, and allow its technical support systems to evolve based on
protection and defense-centric requirements.
The current Framework does not provide a holistic approach by leading in the combined development of
technically informed “rules of the road” and the provision of value-driven, safety-based products and
services used during spacecraft operations. Such “rules of the road”, based on space traffic safety
concerns, could lead to the maturation of international norms of behavior, which would greatly enhance
the strategic stability of the space domain.
Objectives for any space traffic safety governance framework were created by the study team that focus
on mitigating space traffic safety–related risks, protecting and enhancing national security interests, and
ensuring the economic vitality of the space domain and industry. Five Frameworks were created for
consideration. Each Framework exists at a distinct point on a continuous spectrum of space traffic safety
governance options in which the USG’s prescriptive role ranges from low to high. The specific possible
USG roles for consideration were the following:
•
•
1
Developing and enforcing space traffic safety–related data sharing policies, best practices,
guidelines, standards, and rules and regulations
Providing space traffic safety products and services to private and foreign space operators
Pub.L. 114-90, Nov. 25, 2015, Section 109.
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•
Selecting, employing, and/or training space traffic safety SSA operators, certifying private
spacecraft operators, and developing operational processes and procedures
After review and assessment of a range of Framework options, conclusions and recommendations are
provided as follows.
A Framework that best balances the needs for safety, national security, and economic interest is a
framework led by a civil agency. That civil agency will perform the following activities:
1. Facilitate privately led, technically informed development of codified best practices,
guidelines, and standards. These documented processes include improved approaches to
reduce the risk of space traffic safety incidents. These processes can inform future licensing
requirements for payloads. 2
2. Provide advisory products and services that enhance operational safety, such as a public space
catalog and conjunctions data messages. The agency should become the trusted open source
of SSA data.
3. Provide leadership in technical and operations matters related to space traffic safety in
international fora and develop data-sharing relationships with international owner-operators
and partners.
4. Balance the needs of space traffic safety with the interests of space commerce and the space
industrial base and, therefore, encourage, facilitate, and promote the uninterrupted and free
flow of commerce in orbital space.
5. Use a business approach for providing SSA products and services in a manner that is most
cost-effective, enables innovation to occur on commercial technology development
timescales, and is consistent with the required data security policies needed for national
security.
6. Interface appropriately with all interagency partners to ensure a whole-USG approach to
space traffic safety governance.
A civil agency should be provided with appropriate liability indemnification, and at this time it should not
have authorities to dictate real-time operational decisions (e.g. mandating a collision avoidance
maneuver). The civil agency will be required to develop strong interagency processes and procedures
with other USG spacecraft owner-operators (i.e. Department of Defense [DOD], Intelligence Community
[IC], and NASA). Strong consideration must be given to facility and personnel security requirements based
on the requirements of these interagency interfaces.
This particular Framework is also the quickest and most affordable way to implement the civil-based
options. It also offers the most flexibility by providing options to increase the role of the civil organization
over time (and possibly transition to the more prescriptive Framework options) as is deemed appropriate.
2
This implies that reviews related to orbital debris mitigation are most appropriately conducted by this civil agency.
This may require the transfer and/or consolidation of these activities from the agencies that are currently
responsible for such reviews (FCC, FAA, NOAA) to this civil agency. Because the FCC will continue to license radiofrequency use, this will result in the need for most commercial space activities to obtain two authorizations—one
for radio frequency use and another for the other safety-focused aspects of its space operations.
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Implementation of this Framework would require legislative authorities to be granted and appropriate
funding to be provided. A time of transition will be required to ensure that expected flows of products
and services, currently provided by the DOD, are uninterrupted.
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1.0
INTRODUCTION
As stated in Section 109 of Public Law (Pub.L.) No. 114-90, “U.S. Commercial Space Launch
Competitiveness Act.” (CSLCA):
“It is the sense of the Congress that an improved framework may be necessary for space traffic
management of United States Government assets and United States private sector assets in outer space
and orbital debris mitigation.”
Further, that law provides direction to make “recommendations related to the appropriate framework for
the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the public and economic vitality of the space industry.” 3
The law directed assessments of relevant policy, regulations, international considerations, technology,
and operations topics (see Appendices A–G). The assessments have been conducted and frameworks
developed in accordance with the NASA Statement of Work (see Appendix J), which directly maps to the
CSLCA requirements. 4
To inform the assessments, interviews were conducted with stakeholders across many U.S. Government
(USG) agencies and departments, academia, federally funded research and development centers,
university affiliated research centers, and industry (see Appendix L). These assessments provided the
foundation for developing, evaluating, and recommending alternate frameworks for the management of
space traffic and orbital activities. This report first provides definitions for important terms and an
overview of the methodology used to address the directed tasks. Then the report establishes a risk-based
context for the need for an improved framework for space traffic management. Next, specific framework
objectives are identified, a generic framework conceptual model offered, and the alternate frameworks
to meet those objectives are developed and evaluated. Finally, the framework that best meets the goals
contained in the direction from Congress is recommended. Appendix K provides more detail on the overall
study approach.
1.1
Definition of Terms
The phrases “orbital traffic management” and “space traffic management” have been used
interchangeably in the literature, public discourse, and policy discussion to describe governance
approaches for supporting the safety of orbiting spacecraft and debris mitigation. Past studies 5 defined
the term “space traffic management”; in these reports, there continues to be a lack of consistency and
agreement in what the term means. 6, 7 Regardless, use of the phrase “space traffic management” is
problematic, in that it implies a specific approach to the overall orbital safety problem. To many,
3
Pub.L. 114-90, Nov. 25, 2015, Section 109. See Appendix I.
The NASA Statement of Work added one additional assessment of the unique safety considerations needed for
human space flight, particularly the International Space Station.
5
For example, see Contant-Jorgenson, Corinne, Petr Lála, and Kai-Uwe Schrogl. "The IAA Cosmic Study on Space
Traffic Management." International Academy of Astronautics, 2006.
6
Most notable is whether “space traffic management” includes both policy AND the tools and processes used for
Space Situational Awareness (SSA). In this report it is assumed the two cannot be separated in the context of the
goal or space traffic safety, which requires a holistic policy, technology, and operations solution. Also important to
note is that policy will dictate SSA technical and operational solutions, and it is paying for those SSA solutions where
most of the resources will be expended.
7
Unless noted, the report authors have created these definitions.
4
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“management” implies centralized command and control. Also, “space traffic management” creates a
direct analog to “air traffic management”; that is one possible framework to approach orbital safety
issues. To avoid potential bias and/or confusion, the following generalized phrases and terms will be used
in this report to discuss the central issue of orbital safety:
Framework: an outline of interlinked items that support a particular approach to a set of specific and
constrained objectives. An established strategy to execute policy through technical and operational
means.
Orbital Space: the region of the space domain used by Earth-orbiting spacecraft.
Space Situational Awareness (SSA):8 the requisite decision-making knowledge to deter, predict, avoid,
operate through, recover from, or attribute cause to the loss, disruption, or degradation of space services,
capabilities, or activities, including space traffic safety hazards.
Space Traffic: space objects residing in or transiting through orbital space.
Space Traffic Safety: freedom from those conditions in orbital space that may lead to incidents resulting
in harm (death or injury to astronauts and spaceflight participants, damage to public welfare, damage or
loss of spacecraft, interference to spacecraft). Incidents of specific concern are collisions or orbital
breakups.
Space Traffic Safety Incident: 1) a collision, which is the result of two space objects unintentionally
contacting one another in orbital space or 2) an orbital breakup, which is an explosion or disassembly of
a space object that generates orbital debris.
Space Traffic Safety Governance: the establishment of policies, requisite authorities, interagency
relationships; development of subordinate regulations and rules; and implementation of technical,
organizational, and operational solutions to enhance Space Traffic Safety.
Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework: the Framework for a specific domestic Space Traffic Safety
Governance alternative. Also referred to simply as “Framework.”
Distinct nomenclature is used to describe objects and their location in orbital space:
Orbital Debris: any object placed in space by humans that remains in orbit and no longer serves any useful
function. Objects range from spacecraft to spent launch vehicle stages to components and also include
materials, trash, refuse, fragments, and other objects that are overtly or inadvertently cast off or
generated.9
Orbit Types: orbits defined by altitudes or periods of rotation around the Earth. These include Low Earth
Orbit (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO).
Orbit Zones: a notional concept of generally more specific orbits that are subclasses of orbit types. Zones
can be delineated by their mission utility to one or more spacecraft and hence overall value. Examples of
specific orbits that could be designated as orbital zones include the International Space Station (ISS) orbit,
a variety of sun-synchronous orbits (e.g. the NASA A-Train orbit) and the Global Positioning System (GPS)
8
The European Space Agency has created the phrase “Space Surveillance and Tracking”, which they define as the
ability to detect and predict the movement of space debris in orbit around the Earth. This term could be utilized in
place of “SSA” throughout this report when “SSA” is used in the context of providing safety focused products and
services.
9
NASA NPR 8715.6A, Appendix A.
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orbits. Geostationary Earth orbit is a specific zone within GEO commonly used for global
telecommunications.
Spacecraft: a functional system in orbital space conducting or capable of conducting a variety of missions
and further distinguished by those systems carrying humans (crewed spacecraft), and those systems not
carrying humans (robotic spacecraft). To clarify, once a spacecraft is no longer functional or capable of
being commanded, it is considered in this report to be orbital debris.
Space Object: orbital debris or spacecraft.
1.2
Methodology
The alternate Frameworks were developed using the steps that follow.
1. Identify and describe the Space Traffic Safety risks driving the need for an improved Space Traffic
Safety Governance Framework.
2. Identify the top-level Space Traffic Safety Governance objectives, assumptions, and constraints
for management of USG assets and U.S. private 10 sector assets in outer space and orbital debris
mitigation. 11
3. Construct a conceptual model that describes basic elements and interfaces of a generic
Framework.
4. Create a pragmatic, useful set of distinct and feasible alternate Frameworks in the context of the
risk-informed objectives.
5. Evaluate the ability of alternative Frameworks to meet the objectives and satisfy constraints.
6. Provide Framework implementation recommendations based on the evaluations.
1.3
Risks: Driving the Need for an Improved Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework
The basic premise driving the need for an improved Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework is based
on an awareness and perception of increased risk for space traffic. It is expected that an improved
Framework can mitigate those risks. Given a set of scenarios leading to a Space Traffic Safety Incident, the
risk is a combination of incident likelihood and incident consequence.
What follows is not meant to be a definitive space traffic risk assessment. It is rather a discussion of two
topics:
1. Important contributions to and characteristics of Spacecraft Traffic Safety related risks.
2. Feasible mitigation steps that can lead to a risk-informed approach to the development of
objectives and constraints of possible Frameworks.
1.3.1 Consequences of Space Traffic Safety Incidents
The consequences of Space Traffic Safety incidents could be catastrophic, including the immediate effects
of a loss of life (e.g., onboard ISS) or loss of very important space-based services. Generation of orbital
debris would lead to additional future collision risk and possibly interfere with current or yet to be
launched spacecraft.
10
11
“Private” is all domestic non-USG, including both domestic commercial and domestic academic.
Pub.L. 114-90, Nov. 25, 2015, Section 109.
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The recent National Academy of Sciences “National Security Space Defense and Protection” report details
the overall importance of space systems to the nation and world:
“Space systems—systems with one or more components resident on Earth-orbiting satellites—are
integral parts of the national and global information infrastructure. Some of these systems are
essential parts of that infrastructure in that their functions either cannot be performed solely by
terrestrial systems or can only be performed poorly and/or with great difficulty and expense by land,
sea, or air-based substitutes. In the abstract, were all of the space systems suddenly to shut down, the
global information infrastructure would cease to function as the world has come to expect; were the
use of space to be denied in perpetuity, current information capabilities would be nearly impossible to
reconstruct.” 12
Likewise, the satellite industry provides a significant direct contribution to both the U.S. and global
economy. The 2016 Satellite Industry Association (SIA) State of the Satellite Industry Report shows the
global space industry is responsible for a total of $335.3B in 2015 annual revenues ($208.3B is from the
global satellite industry, of which $89.2B is from the US satellite industry). 13 For this industry to continue
to innovate, grow, and thrive, it is vital that the Space Traffic Safety risks are minimized.
A range of consequences—from minor to catastrophic—are possible in the event of a Space Traffic Safety
Incident. Real-world examples of incidents with a range of consequences include the following:
•
•
The Iridium-33 spacecraft/Cosmos-2251 collision of February 2009. Both space objects were
catastrophically destroyed in the collision and created more than 2,000 pieces of orbital debris.
Most recently, the August 2016 collision of the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-1A
spacecraft with a small (about 1 centimeter [cm]) debris particle. Using onboard cameras, ground
operators were able to determine a solar array had been struck by the particle. The spacecraft
continues to function normally; in other words, there was little immediate consequence. 14
A variety of factors must be considered when estimating the possible consequence of Space Traffic Safety
Incidents:
•
•
12
The size of the space objects involved, the design/geometric details, and density of the objects.
Larger and denser objects contain more kinetic energy and hence can cause more damage to
another object (as demonstrated in the Iridium/Cosmos vs. Sentinel-1A example). Also, collisions
involving larger space objects can result in larger amounts of orbital debris.
The relative velocity of a collision. This is a function of the relative orbits of the space objects
colliding. Orbits crossing at right angles will have higher relative velocities. Space objects in nearly
the same orbits will have much lower relative velocities (e.g. two spacecraft conducting proximity
operations, such as a visiting vehicle with the ISS). Note that even small objects (e.g. 1 cm size) at
high relative velocities can still cause catastrophic damage to a spacecraft.
“National Security Space Defense and Protection: Public Report (2016)”, National Academies of Science,
Engineering, and Medicine, August 2016.
13
“2016 State of the Satellite Industry Report,” Satellite Industry Association, September 2016.
14
“Sentinel-1,” ESA, August 31, 2016.
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Sentinel-1/Copernicus_Sentinel1A_satellite_hit_by_space_particle. Latent consequences are possible (e.g., power issues).
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•
•
•
•
The physical location of the collision impact. For instance, a small piece of orbital debris could
strike a spacecraft on a solar array with minimal mission consequence; however, a strike on a
payload sensor could result in loss of mission capability.
The crewed characteristics of the space objects involved (i.e., does the spacecraft carry humans).
If crewed spacecraft are involved, assessments must account for possible loss of human life.
The value of the spacecraft involved in the incident. Of most interest is the information-content
value transferred by the spacecraft, not necessarily monetized (e.g., the information from a U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) or Intelligence Community (IC) satellite has enormous value, but it
is difficult to value using a dollar metric). 15
The value of the particular orbital zone(s) affected by a collision or orbital breakup. Examples of
high-value orbital zones include the ISS orbital zone, polar/sun-synchronous orbital zones and, in
particular, those used for science missions (e.g., NASA’s A-Train), and the geostationary orbital
zone.
1.3.2 Likelihood of Space Traffic Safety Incidents
It is predicted that about one collision will occur per year between tracked non-maneuvering space objects
and debris greater than 1 cm size in the LEO region. 16 An orbital collision between two space objects
occurs when: 1) the orbits (i.e., the paths they take around the Earth) of those two objects intersect or
nearly intersect and 2) those two objects are at that point of intersection at or very close to the same
time.17 Some spacecraft constellations are designed with intersecting orbits so that they may accomplish
their missions (e.g., GPS). The timing of the spacecraft passing through these intersections is phased by
design and controlled in operations to avoid a possible collision. Otherwise, for the most part, operators
avoid placing their spacecraft into orbits that intersect with the orbits of other spacecraft.
However, these intersections do take place, because of a variety of external perturbations that result in
orbits being changed. Examples of such perturbations include the non-spherical shape of the Earth; the
gravity of the Moon, Sun, (and even Jupiter); atmospheric drag at lower orbits; and solar and Earth
radiation pressure created by the reflection, absorption, and emission of energy. 18 With such variables in
place, there exist finite probabilities that any space objects in an orbit type will, over time, unintentionally
come into contact with one another as their orbits are changed enough to intersect and the two objects
happen to pass through that intersection simultaneously (or nearly so). These infinite possibilities require
the continual update of space object positions and velocities in order to compute the most probable space
object collision predictions; this is the basis for needing good SSA.
15
Spacecraft insurance policies do not explicitly exclude on-orbit collision, whether with a spacecraft or orbital
debris, so a collision is generally covered under those policies.
16
Personal communications with Glen Peterson, Aerospace Corporation, November 3, 2016. “Non-maneuvering”
space objects can include a spacecraft that is 1) Non-maneuverable (i.e. has no propulsion), or 2) Maneuverable but
does not move to avoid collision because it is either unwarned or incorrectly determines moving is not necessary, or
3) No longer functional, i.e. has become orbital debris. Collision probabilities are lower in MEO and GEO, but
estimates cannot be made as confidently as in LEO because SSA capabilities are not as good in those higher altitude
orbits.
17
The intersection and timing needs to occur close enough such that any physical parts of the bodies touch one
another.
18
Atmospheric drag is a function of solar activity. As such, atmospheric drag perturbation effects on space objects
are constantly changing, sometimes daily and even hourly.
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Common factors that influence the likelihood of a hazardous scenario resulting in a collision include the
following:
•
•
•
The size of the space objects potentially involved in the collision. For instance, the probability that
the ISS will be struck by a CubeSat in a nearby orbit is much higher than the probability two
CubeSats in nearby orbits will be strike one another.
The local density of space objects. More objects in the same region means a higher overall
likelihood that two objects in that region will collide at some point in time. (An analogy is the
increased risk of collisions between two vehicles on a congested highway versus a country road).
The total amount of time spent in an orbit with a given density of space objects. More time
presents more opportunities to collide. For example, a piece of orbital debris taking 20 years to
decay from a given LEO altitude to an atmospheric re-entry will have a higher probability of
colliding with another space object in LEO compared to an identical piece of orbital debris taking
five years to decay from the same orbit altitude.
As previously stated, given data and models of spacecraft and orbital debris (both known and predicted)
distributions in orbital space, it is predicted that about one collision will occur per year between tracked
non-maneuvering space objects and debris greater than 1 cm size in the LEO region. 19 A variety of other
similar studies have been more recently synthesized by the Interagency Space Debris Coordination
Committee. 20 The results of the studies predict catastrophic collisions (like Iridium/Cosmos) to occur in
LEO once every five to nine years. Once again, the models used in these studies did not consider spacecraft
maneuvering to avoid collisions, although the predicted collision could occur between previously
maneuverable spacecraft that have since become inactive, i.e. orbital debris. New, large constellations
(with total number of spacecraft numbering in the hundreds to thousands) are being considered that, if
launched, would increase local LEO population numbers; but, the near-term assessment is that the
likelihood of increased collisions is not appreciably increased, as long as maneuvers for collision avoidance
are performed for spacecraft both during normal operations and controlled disposals (if that disposal
method is available). Over longer periods of time—decades to centuries—failed satellites in these
constellations would create the likelihood of about one to two additional collisions per year. 21
Historical data compiled in 2009 show that at that time there had been eight total documented orbital
collisions since the launch of Sputnik (including Iridium/Cosmos). Only three of these collision involved
spacecraft. 22 Since that time, four additional spacecraft-orbital debris collisions are suspected to have
occurred (not including the recent Sentinel-1A incident).
A list of the top 10 worst debris producing events has been compiled; the Iridium/Cosmos collision is the
only debris-producing incident on the list known to be caused by an unintentional collision. 23 The China
anti-satellite (ASAT) test of 2007 ranks as the event causing the largest number of pieces of debris. Six of
19
Personal communications with Glen Peterson, Aerospace Corporation, November 3, 2016.
“Stability of the Future LEO Environment,” IADC-12-08 Rev. 1, January 2013.
21
Peterson, G.E., et al. “Implications of Small Satellite Constellations on Space Traffic Management and Long-Term
Debris Growth in Near-Earth Environment,” 67th International Astronautical Congress, Guadalajara, Mexico, 2016.
Followed up with personal communications, November 1, 2016.
22
Weeden, Brian, “Billiards in Space,” The Space Review, February 23, 2009.
23
The accounting approach for the list counts the Iridium/Cosmos collision twice, once for each space object.
20
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the remaining seven events on this list were the result of orbital breakup (explosions), and in the
remaining incident, the cause is unknown. 24
The likelihood of orbital breakup is very much a function of the spacecraft design features and the physical
behavior of the satellite’s systems that contain energy (propellant tanks, pressurant tanks, batteries, and
momentum wheels). The recent orbital breakups of three DOD Defense Meteorological Satellite Program
(DMSP) satellites caused by battery-associated events are a good example of such debris generating
events (this satellite series was designed and approved before orbital debris mitigation requirements
were established in the United States).25 A recent example of an orbital breakup that was somewhat
unusual is Japan’s Hitomi X-ray observatory. Because of a design error, this satellite literally spun itself out
of control with such a rate of rotation that it came apart. 26
1.3.3 Assessing Risk and Applying Risk Mitigation Strategies
The primary role of any Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework must be to mitigate the risks of Space
Traffic Safety incidents. Mitigation approaches for these adverse events should use a combination of
procedural, technical, and operational options that aim to reduce the consequence and likelihood of the
events:
•
•
Reducing consequences of Space Traffic Safety Incidents is a rather constrained approach that,
for the most part, would impose requirements and/or restrictions on spacecraft designs or
operational orbits. The ISS is designed to withstand collisions with smaller orbital debris (to date
it has experienced about 300 total micro-meteoroid and orbital debris strikes), but this added
survivability comes at a high cost because of the addition of mass for protection. Selection of
operational orbits is typically a critical element of the system design. However, there exist
spacecraft – such as experimental CubeSats - for which the mission performance is not highly
dependent on the precise orbit. For such spacecraft, creating consequence mitigation strategies
based on orbit selection is an area that could be explored further (e.g. identification of specific
orbit keep-out-zones for Cubesat experimentation).
Reducing the likelihood of Space Traffic Safety Incidents is a strategy currently practiced and is
rich in options for the future. Current orbital debris mitigation guidelines focus on design practices
to limit the probability of accidental explosions or other hazardous releases of energy, as well as
providing operational practices that limit the amount of time spent in LEO and GEO as debris (i.e.,
the 25-year and GEO+300km decommissioning guidelines). Mission design practices in the future
could be, at a minimum, encouraged to consider the likelihood of collision over the lifetime of the
particular system. Such practices are especially important for future large constellations. During
spacecraft operations, active collision avoidance serves as the primary and most effective method
to reduce incident likelihood. Collision avoidance practices are best implemented through a
combination of procedures, tools, and expert organizations.
1.3.4 Issues for Consideration in Risk Mitigation Efforts
The ability of a Framework to effectively mitigate risk of Space Traffic Safety Incidents is limited. Also, risk
mitigation strategies in any Framework must consider a variety of contexts to avoid unintended
24
“Orbital Debris Management and Risk Mitigation,” NASA Academy of Program/Project and Engineering
Leadership”. See http://appel.nasa.gov/knowledge-sharing/publications/appel-releases-ibook-html/
25
Liou, J.C., “USA Space Debris Environment, Operations, and Research Updates,” 53rd Session of the Scientific and
Technical Subcommittee Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, United Nations, 15-26 February 2016.
26
“Attitude control failures led to break-up of Japanese astronomy satellite,” SpaceflightNow, April 18, 2016.
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consequences related to policy, law, national security, economics, or other concerns. Key issues,
therefore, must be considered in the development of Framework assumptions, constraints, objectives,
and solutions, including the following:
1. The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 (to which the United States is a State Party) provides that States
Parties bear international responsibility for ensuring that national activities are carried out in
conformity with the Outer Space Treaty, and that the activities of non-governmental entities in
outer space require authorization and continuing supervision by the appropriate State Party;
however, the Outer Space Treaty provides no authority for a State Party to regulate the outer
space activities of any entities not affiliated with that State Party.
2. Current space object basic characteristics data further show the limitations of Space Traffic Safety
risk mitigation strategies based on operational controls. Table 1 provides a breakdown of current
space objects in the space catalog maintained by the U.S. Air Force with a breakout showing the
number of U.S. private and non-U.S. private spacecraft. This table does not include the estimated
500,000 pieces of orbital debris about 1 cm in size or the 1 million pieces of orbital debris about
5 mm or smaller in size.
Table 1. Breakdown of Current Space Objects. All numbers are approximate.
Cataloged Space Objects
Spacecraft
(U.S.) Private
Spacecraft
USG+Foreign
Spacecraft
23,000 27
1,400 28
400 29
1,000 30
From this data, the following observations can be made: 31
a. The overwhelming majority of trackable space objects are categorized as orbital debris.
Of the approximately 23,000 cataloged space objects (all greater in size than 10 cm), only
about six percent are (operational) spacecraft.
b. A little more than about one quarter of all (operational) spacecraft are U.S. private owned
and operated. This is two percent of all cataloged space objects. Not all of the (U.S.)
private spacecraft can be maneuvered propulsively (especially CubeSats).
Therefore, the ability of an improved domestically-focused Framework to mitigate risk of Space
Traffic Safety Incidents through operational controls has limitations. This is especially true in the
construct of risk mitigation schemes aimed to reduce collision risk through an active collision
27
Personal communications with the 18th Space Control Squadron, 1 November 2016. About 17,000 space objects
are provided in the public catalog, available on the Space-Track.org web-based service. The remaining approximate
6,000 space objects fall into a category of space objects that cannot be associated to a known launch or cannot be
reliably tracked with the confidence that the resulting orbit predictions can be used for public purposes.
28
Personal communications with the 18th Space Control Squadron, 1 November 2016.
29
Personal communications with the 18th Space Control Squadron, 1 November 2016. This figure developed by
identifying all U.S. private owner-operators and summing numbers of their spacecraft that are known to be
operational. This number includes approximately 150 private CubeSats. Numbers of U.S. national security (DOD
and IC) spacecraft are not publicly available.
30
This number is derived by subtracting U.S Private Spacecraft from the total number of operational spacecraft. This
figure represents a combination of USG and foreign owned and operated spacecraft.
31
These data must be considered in the context of the following facts. 1) A large number of spacecraft operate in
stratified regions of orbital space. 2) Larger objects are more likely to collide with another object. 3) The number of
domestic private spacecraft could surge with the development of new large small satellite constellations.
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Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 21 November 2016
avoidance process. At the domestic level, it is assumed that DOD, IC, NASA/National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will remain responsible for the Space Traffic Safety of their
own spacecraft. Therefore, any Framework must be an all-of-nation endeavor that requires
partnerships across agencies and the private sector. Ultimately, to be most effective in mitigating
Space Traffic Safety risks, an international approach will be required. Also, “one-size-fits-all” best
practices, guidelines, standards, and rules are difficult to create and implement. Instead, such
approaches must consider operational capabilities, limitations, and attributes.
3. Operational decision-making processes, specifically those associated with collision avoidance, are
unlike any encountered in the other domains. The physics of orbital spaceflight is complex and
most often non-intuitive. Space object observations are made using a variety of telescopes and
radars to estimate orbits. Other techniques can be used by spacecraft owner-operators to
determine their own orbits (e.g., using onboard GPS or radio ranging methods). Both
measurement approaches have some degree of error associated with them. Mathematical
models using probability and statistics are then used to reconstruct the prior orbits based on
observations and to predict future orbits (days to weeks in advance) based on the models. 32 The
models used in both reconstruction and prediction are imprecise, because they make somewhat
crude assumptions of physical parameters (e.g., spacecraft geometry) or they lack precise and upto-date physical data (e.g., atmospheric density profiles needed to predict drag forces). This leads
to uncertainty in the prediction of future orbits and uncertainty in assessing the potential of future
collisions. The result is that the risk mitigation approach of maneuvering a spacecraft out of the
way of another space object has the following attributes and considerations;
a. The collision warning and avoidance process begins about 4 to 7 days before a possible
close approach might take place, based on the ability to somewhat confidently predict
future orbits. Such a close approach (close is a predefined distance), where there is
heightened risk of collision, is called a “conjunction.”
b. The collision avoidance decision-making process ultimately based on the probability of
collision. 33 This becomes a key metric in the risk-based decision of whether to maneuver
and, if so, when and by how much. However, a general one-size-fits-all rule to maneuver
based on pre-defined probability of collision threshold is challenging to implement
without being counterproductive and ill-informed. It is important to understand the role
uncertainties of orbits play in computing the probability of collision between two space
objects in a conjunction. Intuitively (and correctly), the smaller the combined sizes of the
space objects and the further apart their estimated point of closest approach, the lower
the probability of collision. But, changes in the uncertainty of the combined orbits also
change the probability of collision. Somewhat counter-intuitively, a higher combined
uncertainty of orbits of two space objects will artificially create a lower probability of
collision. 34 In other words; bad knowledge can result in a false perception of safety. In
the conjunction assessment process, this knowledge is improved by taking newer and
focused measurements, which will drive the probability of collision to some maximum
DeMars, K., Hussein, I., Früh, C., Jah, M., Erwin, R., (2015). Multiple Object Space Surveillance Tracking Using Finite
Set Statistics. AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 38, Special Issue in Honor of Richard Battin, pp.
1741-1756.
33
Some missions rely on an estimated miss-distance, vice probability of collision, to make collision avoidance
maneuver decisions.
34
Alfano, S., “Relating Position Uncertainty to Maximum Conjunction Probability,” AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics
Specialist Conference, August 2003.
32
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number. Eventually, as orbit knowledge is improved and the time to conjunction
approaches, there is an improved understanding of risk as the probability of collision will
stabilize at some value (including zero). Better SSA data quality can improve this risk
control endeavor, but also important is an understanding of the “uncertainty of the
uncertainty.” A lack of clarity and full transparency in the uncertainty in measurements
will result in a lack of confidence in probability of collision estimates. In summary, unless
SSA and spacecraft operators are fully aware of SSA system capabilities and limitations,
poor decisions can result.
c. Decisions must ultimately take into account the cost and benefit of potential maneuver,
assuming that maneuver is possible. Operational contexts must be considered: will a
maneuver impact current operations, for example? Even for the ISS, where human safety
is the concern, debris avoidance maneuvers (DAMs) are not automatically conducted
based on a probability of collision threshold, but rather consider current mission
contexts. 35 Operators must account for the impact a decision to maneuver will have on
precious propellant inventories. Collision avoidance maneuvers actually require small
amounts of thrusting and often can be conducted as part of a normal station-keeping
process required to maintain an operational orbit. But, overly conservative conjunction
warning processes combined with poor knowledge of space object orbits can result in
false alarms that, if acted upon without regard to cost, could be economically and
operationally detrimental over time.
4. The critical element in the Space Traffic Safety risk mitigation process is people. As stated in the
NASA Risk Management Handbook, “In the face of complex decision making involving multiple
competing objectives, the cumulative judgment provided by experienced personnel is an essential
element for effectively integrating technical and nontechnical factors to produce sound
decisions.” 36 Such experienced personnel must understand the complexities of spaceflight and
astrodynamics, the capabilities and limitations of the spacecraft involved, the SSA systems being
used, and the costs of safety-based decisions. For the most part, such personnel are the
spacecraft operators themselves.
5. Also key to the decision-making process is time; decisions must be made in a time-constrained
environment. The establishment of organizations in any Framework devoted to risk mitigation
must take into account the temporal flow of data and information used for decision-making
throughout the organizations. In other words, adding extra layers of staff into an already complex
time-sensitive process will be highly detrimental to effective and efficient safety decision-making.
1.4
Framework Development Assumptions
The following assumptions were used in the development of alternate Space Traffic Safety Governance
Frameworks:
1. Space Traffic Safety encompasses the following activities and topics:
a.
b.
c.
d.
35
The Launch Phase, post transit of the U.S. national air space.
Spacecraft on-orbit operations, including end-of-life de-orbit operations.
The Re-entry Phase (both controlled and uncontrolled) down to the U.S. national air space
Orbital debris mitigation.
“ISS Generic Operational Flight Rules,” Volume B, Flight Operations Directorate, NASA, August 9, 2016
See also Appendix A and E.
36
“NASA Risk Management Handbook,” NASA SP-2011-3422, Version 1.0, November 2011.
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2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
37
e. SSA activities necessary for Space Traffic Safety.
f. Space weather activities necessary Space Traffic Safety.
Spectrum management and mitigation of radio-frequency interference (RFI) are not considered
in the development of alternative Frameworks.
Current DOD and NASA Space Traffic Safety processes are effective and well-practiced. Changes
to Space Traffic Safety Governance processes, including existing agreements involving DOD and
NASA for crewed spacecraft or DOD and NASA/NOAA for robotic spaceflight are not considered
in the development of alternative Frameworks. Operations involving the 18th Space Control
Squadron, Johnson Spaceflight Center Mission Operations, and the NASA Conjunction Assessment
Risk Analysis (CARA) group remain unchanged. However, future modifications of joint agreements
and operations processes are not precluded in any Framework as deemed appropriate by NASA
and DOD. DOD partnerships with private owner-operators, such as the Commercial Integration
Cell, should remain unaffected by future Framework choices. It is especially important to realize
that such partnerships are in the interests of national security and aid in maintaining a resilient
space enterprise.
Three of the Frameworks assessed for this report recommend delegation of certain authorities
and responsibilities to a civil agency. Such delegation is assumed to be of value for two reasons.
First, a civil agency can be granted the regulatory authorities required to execute the particular
policy approach. Second, a civil agency can most effectively “demonstrate U.S. leadership in
space-related fora and activities to reassure allies of U.S. commitments to collective self-defense;
identify areas of mutual interest and benefit; and promote U.S. commercial space regulations and
encourage interoperability with these regulations.” 37 However, no assumptions or
recommendations are made as to which specific civil agency could or should be designated, as
such a recommendation was not specified by Congress as a report product.
Any Framework considered can require changes or modifications of domestic policy, rules,
regulations, and associated authorities. Any new authorities necessary for a civil agency to
implement a given Framework can be provided by necessary legislation.
Space Traffic Safety Governance Frameworks are domestic constructs. However, Space Traffic
Safety–related products and services can be provided to foreign entities in the same way the DOD
currently provides such Space Traffic Safety–related products and services.
The development, evaluation, and recommendation of Frameworks is independent of any other
report findings required by the CSLCA. 38
Frameworks do not include a mission assurance function. “Mission Assurance” here is defined as
“providing increased confidence that applicable requirements, processes, and standards for the
mission are being fulfilled.” 39 That is, the Frameworks are not focused on reducing the risk of not
satisfying mission requirements.
Changes to current United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) SSA data-sharing
agreements may or may not be required to implement a given Framework alternative.
Renegotiation of USSTRATCOM SSA data-sharing agreements to enable Space Traffic Safety
effectiveness and efficiency is not precluded.
“National Space Policy of the United States of America,” June 28, 2010.
A review of these reports shows that the findings and recommendations of those reports would not contradict the
findings or recommendations of this report.
39
NASA NPR 8715.3C, Appendix B.
38
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1.5
Framework Constraints
The following constraints were used in the development of candidate Space Traffic Safety Governance
Frameworks:
1. All Frameworks shall be technically feasible (i.e., they use existing technologies, meaning research
and development is not required).
2. All Frameworks shall not require modifications to existing international treaties or international
law, nor do they require creation of new legally binding international instruments.
3. All Frameworks shall not require changes to DOD Title 10 and IC Title 50 authorities and
responsibilities. Both organizations will continue to be responsible for the Space Traffic Safety
Governance of their own spacecraft according to their current processes and procedures and
using their own internal capabilities. Sharing of SSA resources between the organizations and any
new civil agency responsible for Space Traffic Safety is not precluded.
1.6
Objectives of a Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework
Framework objectives, presented in Table 2, are based on those goals specified in Pub.L. 114-90,
November 25, 2015, Section 109, Paragraph c(7), i.e., “the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of
the public and economic vitality of the space industry”. These objectives establish well-defined criteria to
evaluate Framework alternatives.
Table 2. Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework Objectives
Objective
Considerations
I. Ensure and
Enhance Safety of
the Space Domain
 Protect workforce health (i.e., prevent death or injury of USG astronauts by
reducing the risk of Space Traffic Safety Incidents involving crewed
spacecraft)
 Protect public health (i.e., prevent death or injury of space flight participants
by reducing the risk of Space Traffic Safety Incidents involving crewed
spacecraft)
 Protect private and public orbital space assets by reducing the risk of Space
Traffic Safety Incidents
 Ensure the long-term sustainability of the orbital space environment by
limiting the creation and effects of orbital debris caused by Space Traffic
Safety Incidents
 Protect the public general welfare by reducing the risk of Space Traffic
Safety Incidents that could result in loss of vital space-based information
services
II. Protect and
Enhance National
Security Space (NSS)
Interests
 Enable and enhance the objectives of the National Space Policy, National
Security Space (NSS) Strategy, and other derived NSS policies, strategies, and
plans
 Develop transparency and confidence-building measures to encourage
responsible actions in and the peaceful use of orbital space
III. Ensure Economic
Vitality of the Space
 Encourage, facilitate, and promote the uninterrupted and free flow of
commerce in orbital space
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Objective
Domain and Space
Industrial Base
1.7
Considerations
 Minimize engineering, operations, and sustainment cost burdens on orbital
space system and orbital space operators
 Limit restraints on the traditional space industrial base and new orbital
space startups and initiatives
 Maximize opportunities for timely delivery and return of orbital space
systems to and from orbit
Framework Conceptual Model
To meet the objectives specified in Table 2, this study offers a Framework conceptual model for Space
Traffic Safety Governance. To effectively discuss options available in an overall Framework, a description
of the Framework components and their relationships that make up the governance process should be
visualized. Figure 1 shows these basic components and their hierarchical relationships using a stack
model.
Policies
Rules & Regulations
Standards
Functions
Products & Services
Applications
Guidelines
Computing Platforms
Best Practices
Data Sensors
POLICY DOMAIN
TECHNOLOGY DOMAIN
Operators
Processes &
Procedures
OPERATIONS DOMAIN
Figure 1. Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework Conceptual Models
A basic Framework model consists of three stacks: the Policy Domain stack, Technology Domain stack,
and Operations Domain stack. The Policy Domain stack displays the hierarchical relationship between
high-level policies down to the direction of various subordinate, more detailed and less abstract
standards, guidelines, and best practices (all together, these can be described as “Rules of the Road”). The
Technology Domain stack describes the integrated elements that provide SSA and decision-making–
related tools that provide the knowledge necessary to make informed assessments and mitigations of
risks associated with Space Traffic Safety. 40 Finally, the Operations Domain stack contains the human
40
Spacecraft command and control systems can also be considered part of the Technology Domain. For simplicity,
they are not shown. Also, active debris removal is another technology option for the future in the technology
domain. It is not considered here.
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operators and the specific operational instructions required to control and maintain the SSA tools and
spacecraft. It is ultimately the human operators that will (should) make risk-based safety decisions.
Table 3 describes each stack element within the Framework model and provides relevant examples.
Table 3. Framework Stack Model Elements, Descriptions, and Examples
Element
Description
Example
Policy Domain
Policies
High-level principles adopted or
• National Space Policy (e.g. SSA data will be
proposed by the USG.
used to support global space community)
Rules and
Specific rules and directives created
• Title 10 U.S. Code 2274—USSTRATCOM is
Regulations to accomplish policy.
responsible for the Commercial and Foreign
Entities (CFE) program, renamed SSA
Sharing program
Standards
A set of rules created and or adopted
• ISO 24113, Space Systems: Space Debris
by committee. Standards are codified
Mitigation Requirements
documentation describing
• The Consultative Committee for Space Data
requirements, specifications, or
Systems (CCSDS) Space Data System
characteristics that can be used
Standard for Conjunction Data Messages
consistently to ensure that materials,
(CDM)
products, processes, and services are
fit for their purpose. Standards must
be measureable and verifiable.
Guidelines
A codified set of recommendations or • Interagency Space Debris Coordination
advice provided by one or more
Committee (IADC) Space Debris Mitigation
organizations.
Guidelines
Best
A technique or methodology that,
• JFCC Space, Spaceflight Safety Handbook
Practices
through experience and research, has
for Satellite Operators, Joint Space
proven to reliably lead to a desired
Operations Center, August 2016
result. These can be written or
• JFCC Space, JSpOC Recommendations for
unwritten.
Optimal CubeSat Operations
• GEO operators notify others, through the
Space Data Association, before they
maneuver.
Technology Domain
Functions
Operational activities conducted to
• SSA
accomplish high-level objectives
• Spaceflight safety
(policy, laws, and regulations)
specified in the Policy Domain.
Products
Tangible information exchanges and
• Space object catalog
and
associated intangible support
• Launch and on-orbit collision avoidance
Services
elements and mechanisms that are
(COLA)
used for safety-related decision• Conjunction assessment (CA)
making in space operations.
• De-orbit and re-entry predictions
Applications Computer programs (software) used
• Conjunction assessment software
to analyze process data to create
• Orbital data sharing software (e.g. Spaceinformation products and services.
Track.org)
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Element
Description
Example
Computing
Platforms
Computers and associated networks
that process, aggregate, segregate,
store, and provide basic analysis on
data received from sensors.
Data
Sensors
Telescopes, radars, and other sensors
used to detect, observe, and track
space objects. Also, spacecraft
communication and navigation
systems used report spacecraft orbit
data.
• Correlation, Analysis, and Verification of
Ephemerides Network (CAVENet)
• Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC)
• JSPoC Mission System (JMS)
• Cloud services (e.g., Amazon Web Services)
• Space Surveillance Network (SSN) sensors
• Spacecraft self-reported or self-determined
ephemeris
Operators
Processes
and
Procedures
Operations Domain
Humans required to control and
• 18th Space Control Squadron
maintain systems, observe data
• NASA CARA staff
products, and make final decisions in
• JSC ISS Flight Operations staff
the context of space traffic safety.
• Commercial spacecraft operators
Steps, activities, and codified actions
• ISS Debris Avoidance Flight Rules
taken by operations staff in the
conduct of SSA or spacecraft
operations.
2.0 PRESENTATION OF FRAMEWORK ALTERNATIVES
Five discrete Frameworks are offered for consideration. Each Framework exists at a distinct point on a
continuous spectrum of Space Traffic Safety Governance options in which the USG’s prescriptive role
ranges from low to high (Frameworks options 1 to 5, respectively). Those specific USG roles for
consideration are the following:
•
•
•
Developing and enforcing Space Traffic Safety–related data sharing policies, best practices,
guidelines, standards, and rules and regulations (Policy Domain issue)
Providing Space Traffic Safety products and services to private and foreign space operators
(Technology Domain issue)
Selecting, employing, and/or training Space Traffic Safety SSA operators, certifying private
spacecraft operators, and developing operational processes and procedures (Operations Domain
issue)
Each Framework represents a policy choice. Using the stack model presented, the policy will drive the way
in which future Space Traffic Safety rules and regulations and lower-level guidelines and standards are
created and possibly enforced. Likewise, the policy within a given Framework dictates the functions of
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the Technology Domain approach and hence the products and services to be provided (and similarly for
the Operations Domain model). 41
It is of critical importance that any policy adopted and any rules, regulations, standards, and operational
requirements established are firmly based on physics, technical considerations, and operational
limitations and timelines. The regimes that govern other domains of human activity – such as
management of air traffic and naval operations – have been built over periods of centuries to millennia,
and are technically based on lessons learned from a variety of accidents, mishaps, near-misses, and
warfare. 42 Ensuring the safety of space operations, however, cannot be similarly approached through
long time periods of experience based on trial and error. The space domain has fundamentally different
physics than others in that it is not inherently self-cleansing when an incident occurs. Once on orbit,
spacecraft and space debris remain in orbit for many years (potentially tens of thousands), and can
therefore create long-term hazards to the space environment. Fortunately, the likelihood of Space Traffic
Safety Incidents currently is low, due to the physics of the environment and current space object densities.
Unfortunately, Space Traffic Safety Incidents can be catastrophic and are likely to pose risk to other
spacecraft. Policies and operational requirements that are not sufficiently based on informed physics and
technical considerations will no doubt create economic consequences, while potentially not mitigating
safety risks significantly. The Technology Domain is especially important in this regard: higher quality SSA
data will lead to more informed and efficient decisions. The Technology Domain must focus on the
development and distribution of trusted data.
It is important that any approach to Space Traffic Safety Governance be of a holistic nature, both within
the USG as a whole, and between the USG and private operators. This is currently not the case. Nor is
there a single entity both responsible and accountable for Space Traffic Safety, which practically
guarantees a lack of progress. That said, the degree to which the USG exercises control as depicted in
these options will most likely determine those functions that are “inherently governmental” as defined in
Federal Procurement Law and Guidance. 43 The Frameworks options are provided below.
1. Private Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination
Summary: The overarching policy is to relieve the DOD of its role in private and non-USG Space Traffic
Safety Governance and to advocate a self-monitoring approach for private of foreign owner-operators.
No new authorities should be required to establish this approach.
Policy Domain Approach: The USG plays a very informal shaping role in this Framework in the
development of best practices, guidelines, and standards. A fully privatized, non-government funded
ecosystem consisting of U.S. and international profit, not-for-profit, and academic organizations fund,
develop, promote, and voluntarily comply with Space Traffic Safety best practices, guidelines, and
41
As noted, each Framework represents a discrete choice on what is a continuous spectrum of options. This
approach has been used to illustrate distinct differences in possible alternatives. There exist, of course, options to
use a hybrid blend of policy, technology, and/or operations approaches described in adjacent Framework
alternatives.
42
It is interesting to note that, however, the maturity of safety related rules of the road in the maritime, land, and
air domains for robotic vehicles is about on par with that of the space domain, for the most which is occupied by
robotic vehicles! This is consistent with our observation that rules and regulations in the non-space domains, for
the most part, are based on lessons learned from past mistakes.
43
Manuel, K., “Definitions of ‘Inherently Governmental Function’ in Federal Procurement Law and Guidance,”
Congressional Research Service, December 23, 2014. See Appendix H.
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standards. It is assumed Space Traffic Safety functions do not meet the criteria to be judged an
inherently governmental activity.
Technology Domain Approach: DOD ceases to provide Space Traffic Safety products and services (e.g.,
a private space catalog data, conjunction data messages) to private and foreign operators. The fully
privatized ecosystem (i.e., commercially-owned/commercially operated [CO/CO]) develops and
promulgates Space Traffic Safety products and services using a consortium-type or not-for-profit–led
approach. Business models could include a fee-based approach for membership to this consortium.
Space Traffic Safety products and services and a catalog could be derived from a combination of selfreported satellite ephemeris, potentially supplemented with commercial data sensor sources.
Operations Domain Approach: The operations staff members in this model would be commercial
employees. The consortium members would determine intellectual property rights of processes and
procedures.
Analogs: Space Data Association (SDA). This Framework in many ways resembles a private Space Traffic
Safety Governance approach, much like an enhanced SDA model (see Appendix G for more information
on the SDA). Organizations such as ASTM and ISO provide examples for this bottom-up approach.
2. DOD-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Data Sharing
Summary: The overarching policy is to continue with the status quo for Space Traffic Safety
Governance.
Policy Domain Approach: The USG role is unchanged from today. USSTRATCOM is the lead for
information-sharing approaches and dissemination, and as the focal point for USG interactions with
owner-operators and foreign governments. Rules of the road continue to be developed in an ad hoc
manner domestically. International efforts (e.g., International Organization of Standards (ISO), IADC)
continue without change to USG approaches. No new authorities are required and the current
approach regarding inherently governmental activities is unchanged.
Technology Domain Approach: The DOD continues to provide Space Traffic Safety products and
services through Space-Track.org to private and other non-USG entities based on data-sharing
arrangements and agreements. A single space catalog is produced and current data protection
approaches are maintained.
Operations Domain Approach: Current DOD staff (civilian, military, and contractor) continue to provide
operations support. USSTRATCOM and United States Air Force (USAF) processes and procedures
continue to be employed.
Analogs: Status quo.
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3. Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Facilitation 44
Summary: The overarching policy is to establish the authorities for a USG civil agency to replicate the
current DOD function of providing Space Traffic Safety products and services to private and foreign
entities, facilitating information sharing among those owner-operators. The civil agency also facilitates
the private development and evolution of Space Traffic Safety best practices, guidelines, and standards.
This is a “bottom-up” approach.
Policy Domain Approach: The USG establishes authorities for a USG civil agency to be responsible for
Space Traffic Safety Governance using a modest, bottom-up approach with the primary purpose of
facilitating voluntary information sharing among owner-operators. The development of new USG rules
and regulations pertaining to specific Space Traffic Safety matters are minimized and are limited to
matters incorporated into the licensing and authorization processes. It is assumed Space Traffic Safety
functions meet the criteria to be judged inherently governmental activities are primarily those
associated with licensing, contracting, and international affairs.
The lead USG civil agency:
• Has no authorities to mandate communication or coordination among owner-operators or
dictate operational decisions (e.g., to maneuver for collision avoidance).
• Establishes desired high-level goals and objectives for development, evolution, and
sustainment of private Space Traffic Safety rules of the road. These best practices, guidelines,
and standards focus on 1) Spacecraft operations practices to reduce the risk of Space Traffic
Safety Incidents, and 2) Data standards for the technology domain. This is done through
facilitating the maturation and evolution of communities of interest (e.g., private CubeSat
developers and operators, private GEO owner-operators) that eventually become formally
allied through consortia that focus on creation and codification of best practices, guidelines,
and standards. The USG does not formally provide an advisory role in development of these
standards and practices (i.e., as specified by The Federal Advisory Committee Act, Pub.L. 92–
463, 6 October 1972).
• Creates and manages USG interagency working groups and committees focused on Space
Traffic Safety.
• Conducts continuous outreach with the consortia to understand product and service values,
needs, expectations, and operational issues, risks, and concerns.
• Develops Space Traffic Safety awareness campaigns to engender a broader Space Traffic Safety
culture.
• Provides products and services free of user fees, in an advisory, non-directive role.
• Subscription to products and services provided by spacecraft owner-operators are highly
desired but remain on a voluntarily basis.
44
A clarifying example is with the conjunction warning process involving two spacecraft owner/operators. In this
Framework, operationally, a civil agency would facilitate communication between those owner/operators,
recommending that the space actors discuss a course of action for collision avoidance. Administratively, the civil
agency would facilitate the development of working groups by asking spacecraft owner/operators to voluntarily
come together to discuss the operational practices to be put into place during conjunction warning assessments.
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Technology Domain Approach: The civil agency is given the authorities and funding to provide Space
Traffic Safety products and services to private and other foreign entities. Specific technical
architectures are flexible:
• Since this Framework replicates the current DOD function of providing Space Traffic Safety
baseline products and services, the current DOD Technical Domain architecture could be fully
shared or replicated, or a combination of both.
• Products and services replicate those offered by DOD today.
• A new, commercially driven architecture, using commercial sensors and computing platforms
and applications could be prototyped, developed, and placed into operation. Such an approach
offers several options in both the possible number of sources for each Technology Domain
stack layer as well as the business models used to acquire and synthesize stack layers. For
instance, several commercial sensor data sources could be purchased on a service-based
contractual basis (i.e., data buys). Inclusion of DOD sensor data, if allowed, could possibly be
accommodated. Then, the commercial and possible DOD data would be integrated into a
computing platform, which could be USG-owned (i.e., acquired through conventional
contracting means), or once again, purchased as a service. Likewise, applications could be USGowned or purchased as a service. A systems integrator could be introduced. Finally, SSA and
Space Traffic Safety operations and notifications could be conducted by the USG or contracted
personnel
(government-owned/government-operated
[GO/GO]
or
governmentowned/commercially operated [GO/CO]). Finally, a public-private partnership (PPP) approach
could be employed to develop, operate, and acquire the entire SSA technical solution.
Operations Domain Approach: SSA operations staff in this approach could be a contractor or USG
employee or an appropriate combination. Extending the consortia model to this domain, operations
staff members could include employees of private spacecraft owner-operators acting in temporary
assignments. In any contracted operations approach, contractor-developed processes and procedures
data are at a minimum, USG purpose rights.
Analogs: The Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), NOAA/National Environmental Satellite
Data and Information Service (NESDIS), and SDA practices provide good analogs for this approach.
INPO, a not-for-profit established by the nuclear power industry, sets industry-wide performance
objectives, criteria, and guidelines for nuclear power plant operations that are intended to promote
operational excellence and improve the sharing of operational experience between nuclear power
plants. INPO was established following congressional recommendations after the Three Mile Island
reactor incident. While the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) maintains licensing authorities, INPO
develops operations standards and performs safety inspections. Presidents/CEOs of the major power
companies operating commercial nuclear plants sit on the INPO Board of Directors. NOAA/NESDIS
models provide a relevant exemplar. 45 First, the organization is focused on being a provider of trusted
data in the weather domain with the inherent assumption that such data is a public good. Second,
NOAA/NESDIS produces its own environmental information from NOAA spacecraft and it has recently
established approaches to purchasing weather data from commercial sources, developing basic
requirements for data types and formats that will provide it with the best environmental information
45
This analog is also useful in an international context, as NOAA weather data, products and services, and systems
are developed in context of the goals, objectives, and standards of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
The WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations. This approach promotes international interoperability of
weather data and information.
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available. NOAA/NESDIS use these, the best data available, and thus is a trusted source to provide
timely access to global environmental data to promote, protect, and enhance the nation’s economy,
security, environment, and quality of life. Like Option 1, this option does create a product and services
model very much like that of the SDA, in which owner-operators contribute to a space catalog. With
those products and services now offered free of charge, greater membership should become possible.
4. Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination 46
Summary: The overarching policy is to establish authorities for a USG civil agency to be responsible for
Space Traffic Safety Governance providing Space Traffic Safety baseline products and services to private
and foreign entities, prescribing some level of coordination of information sharing among private
owner-operators, while also expanding the leadership role of the USG in more proactively coordinating
the development and evolution of best practices, guidelines, and standards for private spacecraft
owner-operators. This “from-the-middle approach”, in which the USG plays a more proactive and
prescriptive role than Option 3, still relies heavily on private-industry knowledge and practice to mature
and eventually evolve USG rules and regulations. It is assumed Space Traffic Safety functions meet the
criteria to be judged inherently governmental activities are those associated with licensing, contracting,
development and management of advisory committees, and international affairs.
Policy Domain Approach: The USG establishes authorities for a USG civil agency to provide Space Traffic
Safety baseline products and services to private and foreign entities, prescribing some level of
coordination of information sharing among private owner-operators, and performing a formal advisory
role in the development, evolution, and sustainment of private best practices, guidelines, and
standards, with specific interest in formulating future Space Traffic Safety rules and regulations.
The lead USG civil agency:
• Has authority to mandate some level of communication and coordination among private
owner- operators but does not have authority to dictate operational decisions (e.g., to
maneuver for collision avoidance).
Establishes Space Traffic Safety–focused working groups, engineering forums, and committees,
including formal advisory boards and committees (established to represent specific
communities of interest such as private CubeSat developers and operators, private GEO owneroperators) as specified by the Federal Advisory Committee Act, Pub.L. 92–463, 6 October 1972.
Utilizes these advisory boards and committees to development, evolve, and sustain private
Space Traffic Safety best practices, guidelines, and standards. These best practices, guidelines,
and standards focus on 1) Spacecraft operations practices to reduce the risk of Space Traffic
Safety Incidents, and 2) Data standards for the technology domain. Creates USG steering
groups and interagency processes deemed necessary to coordinate Space Traffic Safety policy
and technical issues between USG and non-USG spacecraft owner-operators.
46
A clarifying example is, again, with the conjunction warning process involving two spacecraft owner/operators.
In this Framework, operationally, a civil agency would coordinate communication between those owner/operators,
requiring that the space actors discuss a course of action for collision avoidance and require them to
inform/update the civil agency of these joint courses of action. Administratively, the civil agency would coordinate
the development of committees used to develop codified operational guidelines and standards to be put into place
during conjunction warning assessments. Owner/operator membership and proof the ability to comply with
applicable standards would be a requirement in the civil agency's licensing processes.
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•
•
•
Develops data specifications, performance standards and specifications, and interface control
documents (ICDs) for use in Technical Domain solutions.
Provides products and services free of user fees, in an advisory role.
Subscription to products and services provided in the Technical Domain by private owneroperators are mandatory. This includes self-reporting of spacecraft ephemeris and operational
status.
Technology Domain Approach: The civil agency is given the authorities and funding to provide Space
Traffic Safety products and services to private and other foreign entities. The approach options are the
same as in Option 3, although the solutions are required to conform to the product specifications
discussed in the Policy Domain approach.
Operations Domain Approach: SSA operations staff in this approach could be contractor or USG
employees or an appropriate combination. In any contracted operations approach, contractordeveloped processes and procedures data are provided with unlimited rights.
Analogs: GPS provides a close analog to this Framework’s governance model in policy, organization,
and technical approach. The GPS consists of a National Executive Committee for Space-based
Positioning, Navigation, and Timing (PNT), which consists of civil and military departments and agencies
that advise and coordinate among member department and agency requirements and provide
resource allocation for maintaining and improving U.S. space-based PNT infrastructure. Under the
National Executive Committee, GPS has an advisory board and several working groups, which allows
USG and non-USG entities to provide input on GPS issues and policies. The National Space-based PNT
Advisory Board enable GPS experts from outside the USG to provide independent advice related to
policy, planning, program management, and funding. The Executive Steering Group—the GPS
International Working Group—and the National Space-based PNT Systems Engineering Forum provide
forums to elevate interagency issues, to meet and review the nation’s ongoing bilateral and multilateral
cooperation activities and to conduct assessments and make recommendations on technical issues.
The USG has more control over policies and standards, but non-USG organizations can provide input
that will be taken seriously when issues arise.
5. Civil-Based Space Traffic Management
Summary: The overarching policy is to establish authorities for a USG civil agency to be responsible for
Space Traffic Safety Governance using a top-down approach in which the USG plays a direct,
prescriptive role in development and enforcement of Space Traffic Safety rules and regulations,
including directing on-orbit activities.
Policy Domain Approach: The USG establishes authorities for a USG civil agency to develop and enforce
prescriptive Space Traffic Safety rules and regulations. It is assumed a large number of the Space Traffic
Safety functions will meet the criteria to be judged inherently governmental activities.
The lead USG civil agency:
• Has authority to dictate private owner-operator operational decisions (e.g., to maneuver for
collision avoidance) and mandate a high degree of communication and coordination between
private owner-operators and the USG civil entity.
Rules and regulation development approaches could include the following:
• Establishment of Space Traffic Safety-related rules and rule-making procedures used to create
mandatory compliance requirements in the domestic spacecraft system life cycle (design,
21
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•
•
•
operations, and decommissioning). Rules enforced during orbital activities would include
requirements to conduct collision avoidance as directed.
Safety certification requirements for ground and spacecraft systems of private owneroperators.
Training certification requirements for private spacecraft operators.
A product certification requirement and data standard for Technical Domain elements (e.g.,
data sensors).
Technology Domain Approach: The civil agency is given the authorities and funding to provide Space
Traffic Safety products and services to private and foreign entities. The approach uses the following:
• A GO/GO business model.
• Conventional acquisition processes to develop and purchase sensors, computing platforms,
and applications.
Operations Domain Approach: A USG staff focused on 24/7 operational command and control of
domestic non-USG spacecraft (i.e., “Space Traffic Controllers”) is used. This function could meet the
interpretive criteria of “inherently governmental”, given the potential impact to private property.
Analogs: Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic and aviation safety approaches provide a
model for this Framework. The FAA manages air traffic within the United States through all phases of
flight, from departure clearance to landing clearance. It has full control of the air environment and
created standards and systems that must be met to operate within the United States. One such system
is the FAA System Operations Services, which is the focal point for stakeholder interaction through
formal collaborative decision-making venues, and they serve as the FAA’s customer advocate. For
operating standards, the FAA created the Safety Management System through a top-down approach
that provides a systematic approach to achieving acceptable levels of safety risk by integrating modern
safety risk management and safety assurance concepts into repeatable, proactive systems.
3.0 ASSESSMENT OF FRAMEWORK ALTERNATIVES
Each of the five alternate Frameworks described in Section 2 represents a mixture of advantages and
disadvantages, costs and benefits, and risks and opportunities in fulfilling the Space Traffic Safety specified
objectives. The stoplight chart in Figure 2 represents a subjective evaluation of each Framework’s ability
to meet those objectives. A more in-depth evaluation of each Framework is presented thereafter. Note
that these assessments apply at this particular point in time and in the expected near term (three to five
years). Changes in a variety of contexts (such as Space Flight Safety risks, global and domestic politicalmilitary and economic issues, technical capabilities, etc.) could change the results of this analysis.
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3.1
Assessment of Alternative Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework
Figure 2. Frameworks Compared to Objectives
3.1.1 Private Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination (Option 1)
•
•
47
Ensure the Safety of the Space Domain— Some basic Space Traffic Safety functions may be judged
inherently governmental. If so, this framework might not be plausible. A judgment will need to
be made to determine those functions that are “inherently governmental” as defined in Federal
Procurement Law and Guidance, before this option can be fully considered. 47 Best practices,
guidelines, and standards will continue to be developed in an ad hoc, un-facilitated, and uncodified manner by the private community. (Other governments and international organizations
might otherwise lead these efforts.) The lack of a holistic and focused Space Traffic Safety
Governance approach can result in not sufficiently addressing the overarching objective of
sustaining the space environment. Lack of leadership fails to incentivize and promote the
development of a domestic culture of safety. There is a medium to high likelihood that not all
domestic private owner-operators will “buy in” to receive products and services. Proprietary data
concerns may result in less than open and fully transparent self-SSA information release. It
insufficiently addresses the need for a whole-USG approach to ensure synchronization of safety
concerns across the USG–domestic private space enterprise (e.g., with NASA crewed spacecraft,
DOD spacecraft). There are possible conflicts between commercially derived SSA and tracking
data and USG-derived SSA and tracking data, without a clear understanding of the reasons for
these differences, leading to less-than-efficient and possibly degraded Space Traffic Safety–
related decisions involving USG and private owner-operators.
Protect and Enhance NSS Interests—This Framework fails to enable the USG to play a leadership
role in the development and maturation of safety-centric best practices, guidelines, and standards
Manuel, K., “Definitions of ‘Inherently Governmental Function’ in Federal Procurement Law and Guidance,”
Congressional Research Service, December 23, 2014. See Appendix H.
23
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•
that could serve as the foundation of international norms of behavior. It limits USG development
of safety-focused areas of interest for potential international cooperation. It could be interpreted
as failing to meet USG requirements of the Outer Space Treaty (e.g., continuing supervision). It
does not allow the USG to play a leadership role in establishing reasonable and realistic space
catalog data security policies.
Ensure the Economic Vitality of the Space Domain and Space Industrial Base—Overall poor Space
Traffic Safety risk mitigation performance adversely impacts the facilitation and promotion of
space commerce. Although unlikely, this private model can be used by established owneroperators to create barriers for new entrants (especially in creating standards).
3.1.2 DOD-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Data Sharing (Status Quo, Option 2)
•
•
•
Ensure Safety of the Space Domain—Best practices, guidelines, and standards will continue to be
developed in a rather ad hoc, un-facilitated, and un-codified manner by the private community.
(Other governments and international organizations might otherwise lead these efforts.) DOD
lacks any regulatory authorities required to evolve the licensing process to further reduce Space
Traffic Safety risks. The lack of a holistic and focused Space Traffic Safety Governance approach
can result in not sufficiently addressing the overarching objective of sustaining the space
environment. The DOD SSA network, which is not optimized for Space Traffic Safety requirements,
underperforms in a safety mission role. Lacking confidence in predictions, private owneroperators may not fully trust provided products and services.
Protect and Enhance NSS Interests—The DOD will continue to be burdened by the Space Traffic
Safety role, limiting overall Operational Domain and Technical Domain architecture (e.g., sensors,
computing platforms) effectiveness in the Title 10 role of Space Protection and Defense. The
defense organization lacks full effectiveness in international Space Traffic Safety dialog.
Ensure the Economic Vitality of the Space Domain and Space Industrial Base—Overall Space
Traffic Safety risk mitigation performance adversely impacts the facilitation and promotion of
space commerce. DOD otherwise has no authorities or obligations to facilitate or promote space
commerce. Continued high false alarm rate to spacecraft owner-operators possibly adds to
operations overhead.
3.1.3 Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Facilitation (Option 3)
•
•
24
Ensure Safety of the Space Domain—Safety-centric, codified best practices, guidelines, and
standards can evolve through the leadership of the safety, security, and commerce-focused civil
organization. Unlike the civil agency, DOD lacks any regulatory authorities required to evolve the
licensing process to further reduce Space Traffic Safety risks. The commercial approach (less
typical USG acquisition delays) option could lead to innovation and rapid development of a
diversified set of SSA sensors, computing platforms, and applications, creating additional and
improved Space Traffic Safety products and services and enabling more informed decisionmaking. There are potential conflicts between DOD-derived and civil agency–derived products
and services (e.g., discrepancies between DOD and civil-agency catalogs if using this approach),
but a common understanding of the differences in methods and models can ameliorate this
concern.
Protect and Enhance NSS Interests—The elimination of DOD overhead for development and
delivery of Space Traffic Safety products and services allows for the DOD to focus on its space
defense and protection mission and further enhances resiliency. DOD SSA systems become
“tuned” to space defense and protection needs. This Framework provides mechanisms for the
USG to develop safety-focused areas of interest for potential international cooperation. It enables
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 21 November 2016
•
the USG to play a leadership role in the development and maturation of safety-centric best
practices, guidelines, and standards that serve as the foundation of international norms of
behavior. It allows the USG to play a leadership role in establishing reasonable and realistic
domestically controlled space catalog data security policies.
Ensure the Economic Vitality of the Space Domain and Space Industrial Base—The USG will
facilitate but have limited input in the development of new best practices, guidelines, and
standards from a bottom-up approach. This approach appropriately relies on commercial
industry to be more technically informed based on a full accounting of unique owner-operator
values, needs, and capabilities. Reducing overhead and the number of false alarms leads to higher
operational efficiencies. This Framework provides more certainty to new startups of Space Traffic
Safety–related licensing expectations. The approach also incentivizes continued growth and
maturation of a new commercial space sector offering SSA services and capabilities.
3.1.4 Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Coordination (Option 4)
•
Ensure Safety of the Space Domain—Safety-centric, codified best practices, guidelines, and
standards can evolve through the clear, coordinated leadership of the safety- and commercefocused civil organization. Unlike the civil agency, DOD lacks any regulatory authorities required
to evolve the licensing process to further reduce Space Traffic Safety risks. The commercial
approach (less USG acquisition delays) option could lead to innovation and rapid development of
a diversified set of SSA sensors, computing platforms, and applications, creating additional and
improved Space Traffic Safety products and services. There are potential conflicts between DODderived and civil agency–derived products and services (e.g., discrepancies between DOD and
civil-agency catalogs if this approach is used), but a common understanding of differences in
methods and models can ameliorate this concern. Overall, the safety related benefits of this
Framework option are about the same as those presented in Option 3. However, because of the
additional USG roles, it will take longer to implement.
• Protect and Enhance NSS Interests—The elimination of DOD overhead for development and
delivery of Space Traffic safety products and services can allow for the DOD to focus on space
defense and protection mission and further enhancing resiliency. This Framework provides
mechanisms for the USG to develop safety-focused areas of interest for potential international
cooperation. It enables the USG to play a leadership role in the development and maturation of
safety-centric best practices, guidelines, and standards that serve as the foundation of norms of
behavior. It allows the USG to play a leadership role in establishing reasonable and realistic catalog
data security policies.
Ensure the Economic Vitality of the Space Domain and Space Industrial Base— This approach
requires commercial industry to be more technically informed based on full accounting of unique
owner-operator needs and capabilities. Reducing overhead and the number of false alarms leads
to higher operational efficiencies. This Framework provides more certainty to new startups of
Space Traffic Safety–related licensing expectations. The approach also incentivizes continued
growth and maturation of a new commercial space sector offering SSA services and capabilities.
The most significant difference presented by this Framework option, as compared to Option 3, is
that the regulatory mandates of the approach could inhibit new startups and potentially begin to
drive companies offshore due to actual or perceived compliance burdens.
3.1.5 Civil-Based Space Traffic Management (Option 5)
•
25
Ensure Safety of the Space Domain—Clear safety-based rules and regulations are commonly
understood and followed. Conversely, there is no guarantee that such new rules would be fully
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 21 November 2016
•
•
technically informed and therefore contribute to effective Space Traffic Safety risk mitigation. The
conventional acquisition of technical SSA capabilities lacks the agility required to maintain
technological relevancy and therefore fails to provide the most effective SSA capabilities. There
are potential conflicts between DOD-derived and civil agency–derived products and services (e.g.,
discrepancies between DOD and civil-agency catalogs if this approach is used), but a common
understanding of differences in methods and models can ameliorate this concern.
Protect and Enhance NSS Interests—The elimination of DOD overhead for development and
delivery of Space Traffic Safety products and services can allow for DOD to focus on space defense
and protection mission and further enhancing resiliency. The high potential for driving
commercial capabilities overseas can limit the USG’s use of commercial spacecraft for national
security related services. This approach could lead to poor international perceptions related to
the U.S. approach using a very prescriptive role in managing domestic spacecraft owner
operators.
Ensure the Economic Vitality of the Space Domain and Space Industrial Base—Additional
burdens (especially operational) on private owner-operators can inhibit the development of new
space-based service businesses or drive those businesses offshore. Uninformed regulations and
operations rules can be detrimental to business economics, while doing little to enhance Space
Traffic Safety.
4.0 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
Spacecraft orbiting the Earth have become nodes in a global information network. Our national security
and the overall public welfare rely heavily on this space-based critical infrastructure. The economic impact
of orbiting spacecraft is significant. The global space industry alone accounts for hundreds of billions of
dollars in revenue. The total value of the content delivered from space is many orders of magnitude more,
because most personal and commercial business in some way foundationally rely on space-based services.
Spacecraft continue to be vehicles of human exploration, and the future holds a promise of expanded
participation in that exploration of space by the public.
In this decade, a new focus has been appropriately made on the defense and protection of spacecraft to
ensure the continued flow of information to and from space. Just as there is risk to spacecraft that must
be mitigated through defense and protection, there is risk to spacecraft because of the possibility of
unintended collisions and physical interference from space objects in intersecting orbits. The likelihood of
such events is low, but the consequences can be high, especially in cases involving crewed spacecraft.
Therefore, it is in the U.S. national strategic and economic interests to have an improved domestic Space
Traffic Safety Governance Framework that specifically aims to mitigate and reduce the risk of possible
Space Traffic Safety Incidents, while at the same time protect the economic vitality of the space industry.
Likewise it is important to enable the DOD to focus on its space protection and defense mission
operationally, and allow its technical support systems to evolve based on protection and defense-centric
requirements.
The current Framework does not provide a holistic approach by leading in the combined development of
technically informed “rules of the road” and the provision of value-driven, safety-based products and
services used during spacecraft operations. Such “rules of the road”, based on Space Traffic Safety
concerns, could lead to the maturation of international norms of behavior, which would greatly enhance
the strategic stability of the space domain.
Objectives for a Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework were created by the study team that focus
on mitigating Space Traffic Safety–related risks, protecting and enhancing national security interests, and
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ensuring the economic vitality of the space domain and industry. After review and assessment of a range
of Framework options, conclusions and recommendations are provided as follows.
A Framework that best balances the needs for safety, national security, and economic interest is a
framework led by a civil agency. That civil agency will perform the following activities:
1. Facilitate privately led, technically informed development of codified best practices, guidelines,
and standards. These documented processes include improved approaches to reduce the risk
of Space Traffic Safety Incidents. These processes can inform future licensing requirements for
payloads. 48
2. Provide advisory products and services that enhance operational safety, such as a public space
catalog and conjunctions data messages. The agency should become the trusted open source
of SSA data.
3. Provide leadership in technical and operations matters related to Space Traffic Safety in
international fora and develop data-sharing relationships with international owner-operators
and partners.
4. Balance the needs of Space Traffic Safety with the interests of space commerce and the space
industrial base and, therefore, encourage, facilitate, and promote the uninterrupted and free
flow of commerce in orbital space.
5. Use a business approach for providing SSA products and services in a manner that is most costeffective, enables innovation to occur on commercial technology development timescales, and
is consistent with the required data security policies needed for national security.
6. Interface appropriately with all interagency partners to ensure a whole-USG approach to Space
Traffic Safety Governance.
A civil agency should be provided with appropriate liability indemnification, and at this time it should not
have authorities to dictate real-time operational decisions (e.g. mandating a collision avoidance
maneuver). The civil agency will be required to develop strong interagency processes and procedures
with other USG spacecraft owner-operators (i.e. DOD, IC, and NASA). Strong consideration must be given
to facility and personnel security requirements based on the requirements of these interagency
interfaces.
This particular Framework is also the quickest and most affordable way to implement the civil-based
options. It also offers the most flexibility by providing options to increase the role of the civil organization
over time (and possibly transition to the more prescriptive Framework options) as is deemed appropriate.
Implementation of this Framework would require legislative authorities to be granted and appropriate
funding to be provided. A time of transition will be required to ensure that expected flows of products
and services, currently provided by the DOD, are uninterrupted.
48
This implies that reviews related to orbital debris mitigation are most appropriately conducted by this civil agency.
This may require the transfer and/or consolidation of these activities from the agencies that are currently
responsible for such reviews (FCC, FAA, NOAA) to this civil agency. Because the FCC will continue to license radiofrequency use, this will result in the need for most commercial space activities to obtain two authorizations—one
for radio frequency use and another for the other safety-focused aspects of its space operations.
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There are short-term actions to assist in this transition that can also add to the safety and security of the
space domain that should be considered:
1. The most prominent issue that became apparent during the assessments was the development
and the nature of a space catalog for use in delivering fundamental Space Traffic Safety
operational products and services. Both the number of and nature of catalogs is somewhat
disputed. Some stakeholders expressed concern with the development of a separate civil catalog.
This second catalog would be separate from the catalog currently developed and used by DOD.
The main issue driving this concern is the potential for lack of consistency between multiple
catalogs, especially in the case where Space Traffic Safety issues arise involving both DOD and
non-USG spacecraft. Those stakeholders expressing this concern desired a benchmark catalog for
interagency use. Some stakeholders noted that more than one catalog already exists (e.g., those
provided by commercial SSA organizations). The second concern deals with the issue of data
security, specifically the issue of publicly publishing SSA data associated with certain USG and
allied government spacecraft. The security protocols and procedures used to process
observations, including any potential for spacecraft characterization, are also of concern. These
issues should be resolved among interagency partners before a technical and business
architecture is baselined in any civil-based Framework.
2. The civil agency could benefit greatly by taking part in on-the-job training at the JSpOC to
understand current processes and procedures used to provide Space Traffic Safety products and
services. This embedded training should include development of short-term and long-term
training plans. Short-term plans should deal with development of the understanding of required
functions that would ultimately transition to the civil agency. Post-transition and long-term,
embedded training will still be valuable; operations staff for the civil agency will always require
an understanding of, first, DOD processes and procedures used for Space Traffic Safety of USG
spacecraft and, second, the interfaces of Space Traffic Safety operations processes with DOD
protection and defense operations processes.
3. Prototyping and evaluation of potential civil-based SSA systems will be valuable in understanding
capabilities and limitations in the development, integration, and purchase of future operational
systems. Scenario-based vignettes will also be important to evaluate system, operator, and
process limitations. Such vignette exercises should be run only after required system functional
performance and operator knowledge have been verified.
4. Facilitation of the stand-up of safety-focused, community of interest–centered working groups,
consortia, and other similar bodies can begin immediately and would be constructive to the
evolution of valuable, technically based, best practices, guidelines, and standards.
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APPENDIX A
Assessment of Best Practices and Industry Standards
Overview
A review of both domestic and international regulations, industry standards, guidelines, and best practices
finds that, with the exception of requirements for orbital debris mitigation and post-mission disposal
plans, there are no widely embraced, enforced, or integrated regulations, best practices, or industry
standards focused on Space Traffic Safety risk mitigation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
implements review of the orbital debris mitigation and post-mission disposal plans through their rules as
part of their spectrum licensing process (see Appendix B for more details). There are best practices in the
private domain, but they remain un-codified and, in all cases investigated, organizationally unique. Space
Traffic Safety procedural standards and guidelines (instructions, procedural requirements, flight rules,
etc.) are used with the USG for DOD, NASA, and the Intelligence Community: they too are organizationally
unique. DOD and NASA do utilize a common operating instruction for ISS collision avoidance processes
(see Appendix E). The U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) has created a
document that provides guidance in the satellite conjunction assessment and collision avoidance process
(see Appendix D), as well as a whitepaper that discusses best practices for CubeSat operators (see
Appendix F).
Orbital Debris Mitigation Guidelines and Practices
In 1997, the United States began developing guidelines to mitigate orbital debris when it drafted the U.S.
Government Orbital Debris Mitigation Standard Practices (USGODMSP), 49 which was presented to the
U.S. space industry in 1998 and adopted in 2001. 50 The standard practices encompass all spacecraft
program phases, from concept development to space hardware disposal. The standard practices focus on
four areas, “consistent with mission requirements and cost:”
•
•
•
•
Control of debris released during normal operations.
Minimization of debris generated by accidental explosions.
Selection of safe flight profile and operational configuration.
Post mission disposal of space structures.
The standard practices apply to all U.S. government Departments and Agencies involved in space
operations, including regulatory authorities. The standard practices serve as the U.S. government’s
foundation for issuing specific orbital debris mitigation requirements and technical guidance.
The USGODMSP served as one of the primary sources for the development of the Inter-Agency Space
Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and the later UN COPUOS
Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines. 51 The IADC Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines are space agency
consensus set of guidelines that are designed to mitigate the growth of the orbital debris population. The
49
Although “standard” is included in the name, these are not, strictly speaking, standards, but are more
appropriately, “best practices”.
50
For a good primer on orbital debris risks and a history of guidelines, see Aerospace Corporation’s Crosslink
Magazine, Fall 2015 edition. Available online at http://www.aerospace.org/publications/crosslink/crosslink-fall2015/.
51
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Legal Subcommittee, Compendium of space debris mitigation
standards adopted by States and international organizations: Contribution of the United States of America, March
25, 2014.
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guidelines have three fundamental principles; preventing on-orbit break-ups, removing spacecraft and
orbital stages that have reached the end of their mission operations from the useful densely populated
orbit regions, and limiting the objects released during normal operations. There are 13 space agency
organizations part of IADC, of which NASA is a leading member. 52
For U.S. private spacecraft, the FCC has implemented the USGODMSP and IADC post-mission disposal
guidelines through their own rule making applied in the process for all spacecraft requiring FCC licensing.
For instance, the FCC rules specify,
“… a satellite system operator requesting FCC space station authorization, or an entity requesting a
Commission ruling for access to a non-U.S.-licensed space station under the FCC's satellite market access
procedures, must submit an orbital debris mitigation plan to the Commission regarding spacecraft design
and operation in connection with its request.” 53
A specific orbital debris mitigation guideline, the 25-year guideline, 54 deserves some attention.
USGODMSP, IADC, and FCC rules establish a desired practice on the disposal of LEO satellites at end of life
(EOL). This practice states that disposal at EOL should take place either through immediate atmospheric
re-entry or through the placement of a spacecraft into an orbit from which it will re-enter the Earth’s
atmosphere within 25 years. First appearing in the USGODMSP nearly two decades ago, the effectiveness
of this guideline on reducing risk of orbital collisions is questionable, especially given current and
projected LEO space object populations. A variety of studies show statistically significant improvements
in reducing collision risk as the re-entry time is reduced from 25 years.55 In any Space Traffic Safety
Governance Framework, this guideline should receive serious consideration for review and possible
modification as a measure to further improve Space Traffic Safety.
International Organization for Standardization
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) develops and issues consensus voluntary
international standards for spaceflight. Within ISO, there are two sub-committees, SC13 and SC14, that
deal specifically with space issues. 56 SC13 members are Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Israel,
Japan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, U.K. and the U.S. SC14 members are the same, less Kazakhstan. ISO
space standards number in the hundreds. Those of note related specifically to Space Traffic Safety include
ISO TR 16158, Best Practices for Avoiding Collisions among Spacecraft, which describes operational
processes for estimating collision probabilities and developing evasive maneuvers. The best practices
created information requirements for warning operators and enabling cooperative avoidance, which is
the basis for Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Conjunction Data Messages (CDM’s)
that were implemented by governments and commercial operators everywhere. This includes the format
52
Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee, iadc-online.org. Last Accessed September 28, 2016.
Federal Communications Commission, “In the Matter of the Mitigation of Orbital Debris,” Second Report and
Order, FCC 04-130, June 21, 2004.
54
Sometimes referred to as the “25 year rule. But, this truly is not a “rule” in that compliance is not monitored nor
enforced.
55
For instance, see Lewis, Hugh G., et al. "Synergy of debris mitigation and removal." Acta Astronautica 81.1 (2012):
62-68.
56
Slane, F.,“ISO Space Standards,” Presentation to the UN COPUOS STSC LTSSA Workshop, February 14, 2013.
53
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used by the DOD to provide conjunction warnings to private operators. 57 In 2011, ISO released ISO 24113,
Space Systems: Space Debris Mitigation Requirements, which defines the primary space debris mitigation
requirements applicable to all elements of unmanned systems launched into, or passing through, nearearth space, including launch vehicle orbital stages, operating spacecraft and any objects released as part
of normal operations or disposal actions. The requirements are designed to reduce the growth of space
debris and ensuring that spacecraft and launch vehicles are designed, operated, and disposed of in a way
to prevent them from generating more orbital debris in their lifetime. 58 The ISO Standard duplicates
practices employed by the space agencies that belong to IADC; hence, most space agencies do not employ
it specifically.
NASA
NASA created the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) for Limiting Orbital Debris (NPR 8715.6), which is
a culmination of orbital debris mitigation policy at NASA. NPR 8715.6 establishes the organizations and
personnel responsible for orbital debris mitigation within NASA, specific program and project
responsibilities from development through end‐of‐operations, and the report structure necessary to
document compliance with the NPR. The NPR is applicable to all objects launched into space in which
NASA has lead involvement and control or partial involvement with control over design or operations via
U.S. internal or international partnership agreements, including the launch vehicle. 59 Companion and
lengthier NASA Standard (NASA-STD) 8719.14, Process for Limiting Orbital Debris, and NASA-Handbook
(NHBK) 8719.14, Handbook for Limiting Orbital Debris, provide details on engineering processes to limit
orbital debris.
NASA also created the Debris Assessment Software to assist NASA programs in performing orbital debris
assessments (for instance, many private organizations will utilize the software to compile their orbital
debris mitigation plans required for submittal to the FCC). The software allows users to follow the
structure of standards and it provides the user with tools to ensure that they are compliant with the orbital
debris mitigation guidelines. If they are not compliant with the guidelines, the software will assess the
debris mitigation options to bring a program within requirements. 60
For ISS operations, flight rules provide specific operations practices to limit risk of collision. These rules
establish criteria, based on probability of collision, when a Debris Avoidance Maneuver (DAM) should be
considered and conducted. These probabilities of collision thresholds range from 1 in 100,000 to 1 in 100.
Along with the probability of collision data, various real-time mission-specific constraints are provided
that must be considered prior to DAM execution (e.g. if a visiting vehicle is approaching the ISS). The flight
rules also acknowledge that the uncertainties in the ISS and potentially hazardous space object decrease
as time of conjunction approaches. Thus, DAM execution should not be based on the first notification of
57
David Finkleman, “Standards, Best Practices, and Cooperation to Sustain the Space Enterprise,” Space
Conferences and Expositions, August 4-7, 2014.
58
International Organization Standards, “ISO 24113:2001,” ISO, Last Accessed on September 28, 2016,
http://www.iso.org/iso/catalogue_detail?csnumber=57239.
59
NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris, NPR 8715.6, 5.
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Legal Subcommittee, Compendium of space debris mitigation
standards adopted by States and international organizations: Contribution of the United States of America, March
25, 2014, 2.
60
NASA, “Orbital Debris Program Office,” NASA, Last Accessed on September 28, 2016,
https://www.orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/mitigation/.
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a threshold probability being crossed. Rather, DAM decisions “should be made as late as practical prior
to the predicted time of closest approach.” 61
Department of Defense
The Department of Defense issued Directive 3100.10 in October 2012, which promotes the responsible,
peaceful, and safe use of space by following the USGODMSP to create a sustainable and stable space
environment that is vital to U.S. national interest. The Department of Defense also created Instruction
3100.12 in September 2000 that aims to minimize the creation of space debris. The instructions
recommend satellite operators consider following debris mitigation practices including, removing debris
within 25 years, minimizing debris by accidental explosions, and limiting the probability of collision during
launch and the orbital lifetime of the spacecraft.
Air Force Instruction 91-217 62 implements Air Force Policy Directive (AFPD) 13-6, Space Policy, AFPD 912, Safety Programs and “provides guidance to develop comprehensive Space Safety and Mishap
Prevention Programs for existing and future space systems.” Chapter 5 of the document is dedicated to
“Orbital Safety.” Specific items of interest include the following:
•
Requires Air Force organizations controlling spacecraft to establish an “Orbital Safety
Program.”
•
Establishes orbital debris mitigation considerations based on GODMSP and NASA-STD-8719.14.
•
Requires all spacecraft to implement a conjunction assessment and collision avoidance process
using the 18th Space Control Squadron’s support.
New Missions for Consideration
Robotic satellite servicing initiatives have begun at NASA, DARPA, and in the private space industry. The
controlled process of closing distance from one spacecraft to another, known as rendezvous, and
subsequent proximity operations create a unique class of hazards to be considered. Beginning with the
Gemini crewed spacecraft, the USG has a great deal of experience in establishing mission specific safety
practices for rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO). Such safety practices can be used to inform the
development of private best practices, but care must be taken to ensure that the mission capabilities and
contexts of new satellite servicing programs be accounted for to avoid misinformed establishment of
safety standards. With this in mind, DARPA has created The Consortium of Execution of Rendezvous and
Servicing Operations (CONFERS) program. CONFERS has three initial goals that can be applied to nascent
robotic satellite servicing industry. CONFERS aims at developing non-binding industry consensus and
standards for safe operational rendezvous and proximity and servicing techniques, serves as a forum to
discuss related policy issues and simplifying U.S. government collaboration with industry, and develops
means to share data and experience between participants while protecting participants’ financial and/or
strategic advantages. 63 This “bottom-up” approach to the development of technically informed best
practices, guidelines, and standards offers a good model that balances the safety and economic objectives
necessary in any future Space Traffic Safety Governance Framework.
61
“ISS Generic Operational Flight Rules,” Volume B, Flight Operations Directorate, NASA, August 9, 2016.
Air Force Instruction 91-217, Space Safety and Prevention Program, 11 April 2014. An updated version is currently
being reviewed.
63 Todd Masters, “CONFERS: Consortium for Execution of Rendezvous and Servicing Operations,” DARPA, May 26,
2016, 5.
62
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Private Best Practices, Guidelines, and Standards
With the exception of orbital debris guidelines, no specific, all encompassing, and/or codified private best
practices, guidelines, and standards were found to exist for orbital operations. Each organization creates
and establishes Space Traffic Safety related best practices based on the context of their own specific risk
and risk mitigation capabilities. This is a function of spacecraft orbit location, capability, and value. U.S.
owner-operators interviewed display a keen awareness of safety issues, and do work together more
frequently (e.g. the Space Data Association) in order to be more effective and efficient through
coordination.
To date, The Commercial Spaceflight Federation (CSF) has published a few standards regarding human
rated suborbital launch vehicles. CSF has recently partnered with ASTM; ASTM has developed a
committee on commercial spaceflight in an attempt to streamline the process of standards development
and approval. The committee was established in October 2016 and it will soon start the road-mapping
process to determine the voluntary consensus standards to be developed. Areas to address in standards
include, but are not limited to, design, manufacturing and operational use of vehicles used for spaceflight.
One purpose of the committee is to create human spaceflight safety standards. 64
Observations and Conclusions
With the exception of guidelines for orbital debris mitigation and associated post-mission disposal plans,
there are no regulations, best practices, or standards focused on Space Traffic Safety risk mitigation that
are widely embraced, enforced, or integrated across the domestic space enterprise. This condition does
not present any significant immediate risk to Space Traffic Safety, but on the other hand, a more
coordinated approach to development of safety related practices would be beneficial. Such an approach
must account for the unique contexts driving Space Traffic Safety related risks (i.e. orbit location,
spacecraft value, etc.) and the capabilities and costs of spacecraft owner-operators to mitigate those risks
(i.e. propulsive maneuverability). Several organizations and nations have developed safety practices
independently. Some, such as France, which has established its own practices in law, are unlikely to
change based on any external consensus. It is very important that any new safety-related best practices,
standards, and/or regulations are informed of these matters.
64
Personal communications with Jane Kinney, Assistant Director, CSF, November 7, 2016
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APPENDIX B
Assessment of Current Statutory Authorities and Regulations
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the
Department of Commerce (DOC) all have statutory authorities and regulations that apply to Space Traffic
Safety Governance.
Federal Communications Commission
The FCC has statutory authority that applies to Space Traffic Safety Governance under the
Communications Act of 1934 (47 USC. 151 et seq.) and regulations under 47, CFR Parts 5, 25, and 97. No
person shall use or operate apparatus for the transmission of energy or communications or signals by
space or Earth stations except under, and in accordance with, an appropriate authorization granted by
the FCC. The FCC authorities and regulations also require applicants to submit an orbit description along
with the design and operational strategies to mitigate orbital debris.
In the Second Report and Order, the FCC amended parts 5, 25, and 97 of the Commission’s rules to adopt
new rules concerning orbital debris mitigation.
Adoption of these rules will help preserve the United States’ continued affordable access to space,
the continued provision of reliable U.S. space-based services – including communications and remote
sensing satellite services for U.S. commercial, government, and homeland security purposes – as well
as the continued safety of persons and property in space and on the surface of the Earth. Under the
rules as amended today, a satellite system operator requesting FCC space station authorization, or an
entity requesting a Commission ruling for access to a non-U.S.-licensed space station under our
satellite market access procedures, must submit an orbital debris mitigation plan to the Commission
regarding spacecraft design and operation in connection with its request. This Second Report and
Order provides guidance for the preparation of such plans. We also adopt requirements concerning
the post-mission disposal of Commission-licensed space stations operating in or near the two most
heavily used orbital regimes, low-Earth orbit (LEO), and geostationary-Earth orbit (GEO). 65 Adoption
of these rules will further the domestic policy objective of the United States to minimize the creation
of orbital debris and is consistent with international policies and initiatives to achieve this goal. 66
The FCC reviewed and concluded that it is within the FCC’s authority and public interest obligations under
the Communications Act to address orbital debris issues. The FCC found:
Orbital debris mitigation issues are a valid public interest consideration in the Commission’s licensing
process and that the Communications Act provides the Commission with broad authority with respect
to radio communications involving the United States. 67 The Communications Act charges the FCC with
encouraging “the larger and more effective use of radio in the public interest,” and provides for
licensing of radio communications, upon a finding that the “public convenience, interest, or necessity
65
As used in this Second Report and Order, the term “space station” has the meaning given in the International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations, i.e., one or more transmitters or receivers or a combination of
transmitters and receivers necessary for carrying on a radio communication service, and located on an object which
is beyond, is intended to go beyond, or has been beyond, the major portion of the Earth’s atmosphere. See ITU Radio
Regulations S1.61 and S1.64.
66
Second Report and Order FCC 04-130, Adopted June 9, 2004, Released June 21, 2004, 2-3.
67
47 U.S.C. § 305(a). The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration is
responsible for assignment of frequencies for use by U.S. Government stations.
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will be served thereby.” 68 Satellite communications are an important component of the national and
world-wide radio communications infrastructure. 69 Because orbital debris could affect the cost,
reliability, continuity, and safety of satellite operations, orbital debris issues have a bearing upon the
“larger and more effective use of radio in the public interest.” In addition, orbital debris can negatively
affect the availability, integrity, and capability of new satellite systems and valuable services to the
public. Thus, orbital debris and related mitigation issues are relevant in determining whether the
public interest would be served by authorization of any particular satellite system, or by any particular
practice or operating procedure of satellite systems.70 Furthermore, debris prospectively generated
from satellites licensed by, or authorized by, the FCC could affect the public interest in protecting the
safety of manned space flight, as well as the safety of persons and property on the surface of the
Earth. Because robotic spacecraft are typically controlled through radio communications links, there
is a direct connection between the radio communications functions we are charged with licensing
under the Communications Act and the physical operations of spacecraft. 71
Compliance with FCC regulations is mandatory and the licensing provisions apply to operations of Earth
stations in the United States and mobile stations (including space stations) under the jurisdiction of the
United States, except for U.S. Federal Government stations. 72
Department of Transportation
The DOT has statutory authority that applies to Space Traffic Safety Governance under 51 USC 509.
The Secretary of Transportation oversees and coordinates the conduct of commercial launch and
reentry operations, issue permits and commercial licenses and transfer commercial licenses
authorizing those operations, and protect the public health and safety, safety of property, and
national security and foreign policy interests of the United States. 73
The regulations under 14 CFR Chapter 3, set forth the procedures and requirements applicable to the
authorization and supervision under 51 USC subtitle 5 chapter 509 of commercial space transportation
activities conducted in the United States or by a U.S. citizen. The procedures and requirements also ensure
that the FAA consults with other agencies to determine whether launch of a proposed payload or payload
class would present any issues affecting public health and safety, safety of property, U.S. national security
68
47 U.S.C. § 303(g), 47 U.S.C. § 301, and 47 U.S.C. § 307(a).
First Report and Order, 18 FCC Rcd at 10764 (para. 2)(observing that the satellite industry is a “crucial component
of the global communications marketplace”).
70
Courts have held that the Commission may consider public safety factors as part of its licensing procedures. See
Simmons v. FCC, 145 F.2d 578, 579 (D.C. Cir. 1944)(finding that the “public interest, convenience and necessity clearly
require the Commission to deny applications for construction which would menace air navigation”); Deep South
Broadcasting Co. v. FCC, 278 F.2d 264, 267 (D.C. Cir. 1960)(confirming FCC authority to consider structural aspects
of a radio tower as a “clearly relevant public interest consideration”). For a discussion of the FCC’s legal authority
concerning orbital debris, see also MEO/LEO Constellations: U.S. Laws, Policies, and Regulations on Orbital Debris
Mitigation, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Special Project No. SP-016-2-1999 (1999).
71
Second Report and Order FCC 04-130, Adopted June 9, 2004, Released June 21, 2004, 8-9.
72
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Legal Subcommittee, Compendium of space debris mitigation
standards adopted by States and international organizations: Contribution of the United States of America, March
25, 2014, 6.
73
51 U.S.C. § 509.
69
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or foreign policy interests, or international obligations of the United States. 74 To determine if the
purposed payload presents any issues affecting U.S. national security or foreign policy interests, or
international obligations of the United States, the FAA shall:
•
•
•
Consult with the DOD to determine whether launch of a proposed payload or payload class would
present any issues affecting U.S. national security.
Consult with the Department of State to determine whether launch of a proposed payload or
payload class would present any issues affecting U.S. foreign policy interests or international
obligations.
Consult with other federal agencies, including NASA, authorized to address issues identified under
the interagency consultation paragraph associated with an applicant's launch proposal. 75
In terms of orbital debris mitigation regulations, the FAA focuses on safety at the end of launch, which is
defined as the last exercise of control over the launch vehicle. 76 To obtain safety approval for any
proposed launch of a launch vehicle with a stage or component that will reach Earth orbit, an applicant
must ensure: 77
•
•
•
There is no unplanned physical contact between the vehicle or any of its components and the
payload after payload separation;
Debris generation does not result from the conversion of energy sources into energy that
fragments the vehicle or its components. Energy sources include chemical, pressure, and kinetic
energy; and
Stored energy is removed by depleting residual fuel and leaving all fuel line valves open, venting
any pressurized system, leaving all batteries in a permanent discharge state, and removing any
remaining source of stored energy.78
For any reusable launch vehicle the mission operational requirements and restrictions include “no
unplanned physical contact between the vehicle or its components and payload after payload separation
and debris generation will not result from conversion of energy sources into energy that fragments the
vehicle or its payload. Energy sources include, but are not limited to, chemical, pneumatic, and kinetic
energy.” 79
Department of Commerce
The DOC has statutory authority that applies to Space Traffic Safety Governance under 51 USC Chapter
601. This statute explains the requirements that a remote sensing operator must dispose of any satellite
upon termination in space in a manner satisfactory to the President and that they must furnish the
Secretary of Commerce with the complete orbit information of the spacecraft. 80
74
51 U.S.C. § 415.57.
51 U.S.C. § 415.23.
76
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, Legal Subcommittee, Compendium of space debris mitigation
standards adopted by States and international organizations: Contribution of the United States of America, March
25, 2014, 3.
77
51 U.S.C. §415.39.
78
51 U.S.C. §417.129.
79
51 U.S.C. §431.43(c)(3).
80
51 U.S.C. §60122 (b).
75
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NOAA issues regulations establishing the agency’s requirements for the licensing, monitoring and
compliance of operators of private Earth remote sensing space systems under the National and
Commercial Space Programs Act (NCSPA), 51 USC Chapter 60101, et seq. The NCSPA states that no person
who is subject to the jurisdiction or control of the U.S. may operate any private remote sensing space
system without a license, and authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to license private sector parties to
operate private remote sensing space systems. By law, the Secretary of Commerce can grant a license
only upon determining, in writing that the applicant (licensee) will comply with the requirements of the
NCSPA, any regulations issued pursuant to the NCSPA and any applicable international obligations and
national security concerns of the United States. Under 15 CFR Part 960 in accordance with the NCSPA, a
“licensee shall assess and minimize the amount of orbital debris released during the post-mission disposal
of its satellite. Applicants are required to provide at the time of application a plan for post-mission
disposition of remote sensing satellites.” 81
81
15 CFR Part 960. Licensing of Private Land Remote-Sensing Space Systems: Spacecraft Disposal and Orbital Debris
Mitigation Plan.
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APPENDIX C
Treaties and Other (legally-binding) International Agreements
Treaties and other (legally-binding) International Agreements
Space Traffic Management Requirements 82
Simply stated there are no explicit or implicit national or international–level requirements for space traffic
management (STM) under treaties and other legally-binding international agreements, to which the
United States is a party. As such, U.S. compliance with such non-existent requirements is obviously not
germane. However, three major, applicable treaties that make up the specialized body of relevant space
law: the Outer Space treaty (1967), the Liability Convention (1972), and the Registration Convention
(1975), may be interpreted to allow for space traffic management, within strict limits and depending on
if the STM regime is intended for strictly domestic, national-level regulation of space activities, or intended
to affect other states’ space activities without their consent.
First, national-level STM is allowed for in the treaties noted above. 83 Indeed, advocates of STM may
reason that the three applicable treaties bolster arguments for national-level STM. For example, the Outer
Space Treaty says that states “shall bear international responsibility” for national space activities whether
carried out by governmental or non-governmental entities (Article VI). Likewise, states shall be
internationally liable for damage caused by their space objects to another State Party to the Outer Space
Treaty (Article VII); and shall avoid harmful contamination of space and celestial bodies (Article IX). In
addition, the Liability Convention establishes that states are responsible for space objects launched from
their territory or launched by their nationals.
Furthermore, while there is no requirement for STM in the Registration Convention, any national-level
STM regime would likely facilitate compliance with the Registration Convention. The Registration
Convention states: “when a space object is launched into Earth orbit or beyond, the launching State shall
register the space object by means of an entry in an appropriate registry which it shall maintain.” The
minimum required contents of the registry entry are very general but the Convention also notes that
states may, if so desired, provide additional information about a satellite to the UN Secretary General.
The U.S. State Department is responsible for registering satellites under the Registration Convention with
the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs, which maintains the United Nations Register of Objects Launched
into Outer Space. However, since the State Department does not oversee launch of satellites, it depends
on receiving information from the DOD, NASA, NRO and the FCC. Although the Registration Convention
does not provide a specific timeline for when objects must be registered, the United States is typically
slow in satellite registration due to the sluggishness of its interagency process. 84
What the three applicable treaties allow for regarding a future STM regime that affects other states’ space
activities, i.e. international-level STM, is less clear. For example, Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty states
that parties to the treaty shall be guided by the principle of cooperation and mutual assistance and shall
conduct their activities in outer space with due regard to the corresponding interests of all parties to the
82
In this analysis, the term “Space Traffic Management” is used as provided in the original, primarily because this is
the terminology used in international dialogue that is discussed in this assessment. This should not be confused with
the later Framework Alternatives section which redefines Space Traffic Management writ large as “Space Traffic
Safety Governance,” and labels just one of five specific framework alternatives as “Space Traffic Management.”
83
This assessment is conscious of the debates regarding how the international nature of the space domain, and
international commercial competition, may make national-level STM impractical. However, that debate is outside
the scope of this review.
84
The Registration Convention call for registration information to be provided “as soon as practicable.”
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treaty. Moreover, the Registration Convention, which is seen by many space policy and legal analysts as a
foundation stone for any future international space traffic management regime, states in Article II: “Each
State of registry may, from time to time, provide the Secretary-General of the United Nations with
additional information concerning a space object carried on its registry.” The Registration Convention
further makes no differentiation between civil and military/intelligence satellites; indeed major space
powers routinely register their military/intelligence satellites (if only by an alphanumeric designator, and
if only at insertion orbit).
On the other hand, the Outer Space Treaty freedom of use and freedom of access clauses (Article I and
Article II respectively) make clear that with regard to a potential international space traffic management
regime, the creation of the equivalent to national airspace in outer space (e.g. national space lanes) would
not be permitted without the consent of the affected state(s). As noted later in the discussion, if the
affected states agree, the Outer Space Treaty would permit an international regime. Article I states,
“Outer space, including the moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all
States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law,
and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies.” Article II states, “Outer space, including the
moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means
of use or occupation, or by any other means.” It appears a new legally-binding international agreement
would probably be required to enable one state, or international entity, to regulate or “manage” another
state’s space activities. The Liability Convention may also need to be amended since liability for some
incidents may reasonably need to reside with the new international entity performing space traffic
management, more so than with the launching state. In fact, amending the provisions of the Liability
Convention may need to be a first step, in order to enable creation of an international STM regime.
Otherwise, it may be difficult to get states to cede freedom of action in space, and spacecraft control
decisions, to a new international-level space traffic entity.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is also relevant. A government must complete ITU
coordination and notification procedures in order to obtain international recognition for the use of orbits
and frequencies by space stations, including those used for geostationary satellites. 85 Although the United
States and other ITU Member States “retain their entire freedom” with respect to military satellite
networks under Article 48 of the ITU Constitution, they are required to follow ITU Radio Regulations “so
far as possible.” Most nations register their military satellites in order to obtain international recognition
for satellite networks. The ITU does not have enforcement capabilities although dispute resolution
processes exist. Any future international-level STM regime would need to take into account the ITU’s role
in managing use of orbital/radio frequency resources.
In sum, there are no explicit or implicit national or international–level requirements for STM under
treaties and other international agreements to which the United States is a party. However, while the
current body of international space law could accommodate a national-level STM regime (setting aside
the technical difficulties of such a framework), any STM regime that affects other states’ space activities
would require other countries’ consent.
85
The ITU, a specialized UN agency, establishes regulations for the international coordination of frequencies used
by space stations. This report does not consider space radio-communications/spectrum management within its
definition of STM and will not address such issues as part of this assessment.
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Orbital Debris
The Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
(COPUOS) defines debris as “all man-made objects, including fragments and elements thereof, in Earth
orbit or re-entering the atmosphere, that are non-functional.” It goes on to state, “As the population of
debris continues to grow, the probability of collisions that could lead to potential damage will
consequently increase. In addition, there is also the risk of damage on the ground, if debris survives Earth’s
atmospheric re-entry. The prompt implementation of appropriate debris mitigation measures is therefore
considered a prudent and necessary step towards preserving the outer space environment for future
generations.”
Nevertheless, other than the 1972 Liability Convention, which mandates that states are responsible for
space objects launched from their territory, there are no additional explicit requirements regarding orbital
debris under treaties and other binding international agreements to which the United States is a party.
That said, customary international law might someday impose some obligations on states to avoid
allowing their territory to be used in ways that impose significant pollution (in the form of debris) upon
the global commons.
The Liability Convention establishes that parties are “absolutely” liable to pay compensation for damage
by national (government or private sector) space objects on Earth or to aircraft in flight, and “fault-based”
liability regarding damage to other space objects. It also establishes a process for claims and settlement.
The Liability Convention holds the party responsible if compliance with those states’ domestic regulations
caused harm to other states’ space objects, although the Liability Convention holds states responsible
only “for fault” for damage to other states’ space objects. These responsibilities are applicable to orbital
debris.
While not an explicit requirement, an implicit requirement regarding orbital debris may be derived from
the Outer Space Treaty, Article IX which mandates that states act with “due regard” for the interests of
other states, “avoid harmful contamination,” and undertake international consultations if an activity in
space would cause “potentially harmful interference” with the space activities of other states. However,
the applicability of Article IX to the orbital debris problem is subject to interpretation and there has been
no state practice of invoking the consultation obligation of Article IX in a situation involving space debris.
Non-Binding International Arrangements
Evolving Non-Binding Space Traffic Management and Orbital Debris Requirements
As outlined above, there is a dearth of STM and orbital debris requirements based upon legally binding
treaties or international agreements. This vacuum is driving the creation of non-binding international
arrangements in order to develop pragmatic solutions to address these growing concerns. It is important
to note, however, non-legally-binding agreements can sometimes evolve into binding law either in the
form of a treaty or in the form of Customary International Law.
Assessing the growing body of nonbinding international arrangements concerning STM and orbital debris
shows that there is momentum behind a growing number of relevant, voluntary, non-legally binding,
guidelines, measures, and internationally acknowledged “best practices,” with which the United States
attempts to comply or is considering.
Many of these initiatives are framed as promoting the long-term sustainability, safety, security and/or
reliability of the space environment and therefore address the issues of orbital debris and space traffic
management as part of the same problem. Therefore, much of the following review also takes a similar
all-inclusive approach in its examination of non-binding STM and orbital debris requirements.
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Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) – Working Group on Long-Term
Sustainability of Outer Space, 2010-2018
COPUOS was established in 1959 by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to promote the peaceful uses of
space, research on space, information sharing, and international cooperation to utilize space to benefit
humankind, and to establish legal parameters around the peaceful use of outer space. It is the primary
multilateral organization empowered to negotiate international space law. There are currently 83
Member States, and a large number of observers from nongovernmental and intergovernmental
organizations. The work of COPUOS is broken into two subcommittees: the Legal Subcommittee and the
Scientific and Technical Subcommittee, which meet annually and report to the annual June meeting of
the full committee. Decisions are taken by member state voting, although the usual UN practice of
consensus is always sought. COPUOS decisions are then sent to the UN General Assembly (via the Fourth
Committee) for adoption.
While the COPUOS Legal Subcommittee has been stymied for many years, the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee has made slow progress in addressing technical challenges to the space environment. In
2007, COPUOS adopted a set of voluntary guidelines for mitigating creation of new space debris
mitigation, subsequently adopted by the General Assembly in January 2008. The guidelines adopted were
based on the technical work of the Interagency Debris Coordinating Committee and represent voluntary
best practices for space activities in limiting the creation of dangerous space debris. Perhaps the most
significant is Article 4, which pledges nations to avoiding the deliberate creation of long-lived debris. (For
details see section devoted to space debris mitigation below).
In 2010, COPUOS launched a new working group under the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee on
“Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities” (LTS) focused on crafting best practices for
maintaining a safe, secure and sustainable space environment. The stated end-goal was a set of voluntary
best-practice guidelines for activities in space, including launch, on-orbit operations, and satellite disposal.
The General Assembly under Resolution A/AC.105/C.1/L./307/Rev.1 of February 2011 detailed the group’s
objectives and organization into four expert groups: A. Sustainable Space Utilization and Supporting
Sustainable Development on Earth; B. SSA; C. Space Weather; and D. Regulatory Regimes and Guidance
for Actors in the Space Arena. Issues being addressed include: collection, sharing and dissemination of
data on functional and non-functional space objects; re-entry notifications; and pre-launch and maneuver
notifications. The work began in February 2012.
In February 2014, the expert groups recommended a total of 31 guidelines to the Scientific and Technical
Subcommittee, and in February 2015 a draft working group report was submitted by the chair based on
these findings, which also included issues for possible future consideration.
The working group was able at a June 2016 meeting in the margins of the annual COPUOS meeting to
agree, in a draft report approved by COPUOS, to a set of 12 recommended guidelines, and to extend the
LTS working group mandate to 2018 in hopes of reaching agreement on another 16 guidelines.
The COPUOS-approved draft guidelines will need to be submitted for approval to the UNGA Fourth
Committee, as the compromise agreement reached in June was predicated on the fact that until
negotiations about the other proposals was complete, no formal approval process would be completed.
Once the full set of guidelines is approved by the Fourth Committee, the package will go before the full
UN General Assembly, at which time, if approved, they will become not legal but political commitments
by governments. The current mandate of the LTS Working Group runs through June 2018, by which time
negotiations on new guidelines would need to conclude. The LTS guidelines should be considered in the
development of a future space traffic management regime. Relevant sections of the 12 agreed upon
guidelines are specified below.
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A. Policy and Regulatory Framework for Space Activities.
Guidelines 1, 2, 3 and 4 provide guidance on the development of policies, regulatory frameworks and
practices that support the long-term sustainability of outer space activities for Governments and relevant
international intergovernmental organizations authorizing or conducting space activities. These include:
Guideline 1. Adopt, revise and amend, as necessary, national regulatory frameworks for outer space
activities.
Guideline 2. Consider a number of elements when developing, revising or amending, as necessary,
national regulatory frameworks for outer space activities.
(b) Implement space debris mitigation measures, such as the Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines of
the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, through applicable mechanisms;
(f) Consider the potential benefits of using existing international technical standards, including those
published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Consultative Committee for
Space Data Systems and national standardization bodies. In addition, States should consider the
utilization of recommended practices and voluntary guidelines proposed by the Inter-Agency Space
Debris Coordination Committee and the Committee on Space Research;
Guideline 3. Supervise national space activities.
3.1 In supervising space activities of non-governmental entities, States should ensure that entities under
their jurisdiction and/or control that conduct outer space activities have the appropriate structures and
procedures for planning and conducting space activities in a manner that supports the objective of
enhancing the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, and that they have the means to comply
with relevant national and international regulatory frameworks, requirements, policies and processes in
this regard.
3.2 States bear international responsibility for national activities in outer space and for the authorization
and continuing supervision of such activities, which are to be carried out in conformity with applicable
international law. In fulfilling this responsibility, States should encourage each entity conducting space
activities to:
(a) Establish and maintain all the necessary technical competencies required to conduct the outer
space activities in a safe and responsible manner and to enable the entity to comply with the relevant
governmental and intergovernmental regulatory frameworks, requirements, policies and processes;
(b) Develop specific requirements and procedures to address the safety and reliability of outer space
activities under the entity’s control, during all phases of a mission life cycle;
(c) Assess all risks to the long-term sustainability of outer space activities associated with the space
activities conducted by the entity, in all phases of the mission life cycle, and take steps to mitigate
such risks to the extent feasible.
Guideline 4. Ensure the equitable, rational and efficient use of the radio frequency spectrum and the
various orbital regions used by satellites.
4.3 Consistent with the purpose of article 45 of the ITU Constitution, States and international
intergovernmental organizations should ensure that their space activities are conducted in such a manner
as not to cause harmful interference with the reception and transmission of radio signals related to the
space activities of other States and international intergovernmental organizations, as one of the means of
promoting the long-term sustainability of outer space activities.
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B. Safety of space operations.
Guidelines 12, 13, 16 and 17 provide guidance to Governments and relevant international
intergovernmental organizations on the conduct of space operations in a manner that supports the longterm sustainability of outer space activities.
Guideline 12. Improve accuracy of orbital data on space objects and enhance the practice and utility of
sharing orbital information on space objects.
Guideline 13. Promote the collection, sharing and dissemination of space debris monitoring information.
Guidelines 16 and 17 focus on space weather information sharing, models, and tools.
C. International cooperation, capacity-building and awareness.
Guidelines 25 and 26 provide guidance on international cooperation measures aimed at promoting the
long-term sustainability of outer space activities for Governments and relevant international
intergovernmental organizations authorizing or conducting space activities. The focus is on promoting and
supporting capacity building, and raising awareness
D. Scientific and technical research and development.
“Guidelines 27 and 28 provide guidance of a scientific and technical nature for Governments, international
intergovernmental organizations, and national and international non-governmental entities that conduct
space activities. They encompass, among other things, the collection, archiving, sharing and dissemination
of information on space objects and space weather, and the use of standards for information exchange.
These guidelines also address research into, and the development of, ways to support the sustainable use
and exploration of outer space.
Guideline 28. Investigate and consider new measures to manage the space debris population in the long
term.
COPUOS Legal Subcommittee: New Agenda Item on Space Traffic Management (STM)
At its April 2015 meeting, the COPUOS Legal Subcommittee agreed to two new agenda items with
relevance to STM:
•
•
“General exchange of views on the legal aspects of space traffic management.”
“General exchange of views on the application of international law to small satellite activities.”
Germany instigated the discussion of STM and suggested that the discussions “reflect on the concept of
STM, on what it entails and on what consequences it would have for the organization and governance of
space activities. In particular, the contribution of STM to the safety of space operations benefitting all
users of outer space (whether they are established users or recent and future users) could be investigated.
The item would also provide the opportunity to discuss the status of academic research in that field and
to possibly invite presentations of the technical and well as legal background of this issue.”
The German proposal followed discussion in the margins of an April 2015 informal seminar on STM. While
the Legal Subcommittee has not defined STM or its scope, a 2006 study conducted by the International
Academy of Astronautics “Cosmic Study on Space Traffic Management,” defined it as follows: “Space
traffic management means the set of technical and regulatory provisions for promoting safe access to
outer space, operations in outer space and return from outer space to Earth free from physical or radiofrequency interference.” The IAA intends to publish a follow-on study in 2016 that has not yet been
released.
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The Legal Subcommittee originally agreed to a year-long mandate for the discussion, but at the April 2016
meeting agreed to continue discussions. The report of that meeting (A/AC.105/1113), details the
discussions and the general views expressed. On the issue of STM, the report states:
The Subcommittee noted that consideration of the concept of STM was of growing importance
for all nations. The space environment was becoming increasingly congested and complex owing
to the growing number of objects in outer space, the diversification of actors and the increase in
space activities, all of which made it more difficult to ensure safe and sustainable space
operations, and STM required a multilateral approach.
The Subcommittee noted that a number of measures being undertaken at both the national and
international levels were essential to improving the safety and sustainability of space flight, such
as the exchange of information and services related to space situational awareness, which were
critical to avoiding collisions in outer space. The Subcommittee agreed that a continued exchange
of information on best practices and standards associated with the management of space
operations was essential.
On the issue of small satellites, the report states:
The Subcommittee noted with regard to small satellite activities a number of legal challenges, as well
as existing and emerging practices and regulatory frameworks. The Subcommittee also noted the
programs of States and international organizations in the field of the development and use of small
satellites.
The Subcommittee agreed that in order to ensure the safe and responsible use of outer space in the
future, it was important to include small satellite missions appropriately in the scope of application of
international and national regulatory frameworks.
It should be noted that the Legal Subcommittee was the original venue for negotiations on all current
international treaties related to outer space, according to its mandate. While the current discussions of
STM within the subcommittee are at an initial stage, the development of any national STM regime should
take into account these deliberations – which at some future point could acquire legal standing. Indeed,
the U.S. would play a major role in the development of any STM discussions in the Legal Subcommittee.
So it’s quite plausible that evolving U.S. attitudes about, and actions toward, a national STM system would
feed into, and perhaps be reflected in, any international standards the Legal Subcommittee might
develop.
UN Group of Governmental Experts on Transparency and Confidence-Building in Outer Space
Activities. 2011-2013
In 2011, the UNGA First Committee (responsible for international security affairs) called upon the
Secretary-General to establish a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on transparency and confidencebuilding measures (TCBMs) in space. GGEs are established by the Secretary-General to develop
recommendations on issues that are not yet ripe for formal negotiations or UN decision-making, and
usually include 15 members chosen by the Secretary-General based on equitable geographic distribution,
with the exception that the P5 (permanent members of the Security Council) always have seats. The 15member GGE on space TCBMs began work in 2012 and issued a report in July 2013, which was adopted
by the General Assembly at its 68th Session. The GGEs remit was to develop recommendations to create
mutual understanding and build trust among nations in order to reduce risks to space security. By way of
explanation, TCBMs are an established tool of multilateral statecraft, designed to reduce risks of conflicts
and often seen as a prelude to the negotiation of arms control treaties.
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The GGE on TCBMs in space was chaired by Russia, and members were: Brazil, Chile, China, France, Italy,
Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine,
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States. The work focused on TCBMs
that “could be adopted voluntarily by states on a unilateral, bilateral, regional or multilateral basis.” The
report’s recommendations were divided into five broad categories of activities: Enhancing the
transparency of outer space activities; international cooperation; consultative measures; outreach; and
coordination.
Recommended transparency measures included information exchanges on orbital parameters of satellites
and conjunction potentials, and highlighted the need for improved compliance with current agreements
including the Registration Convention. The report also recommended further notifications, including:
planned launches; scheduled maneuvers that might result in risk to other space objects; uncontrolled
“high risk” re-entries; emergency situations; and orbital break-ups.
The recommendations of the GGE report are voluntary, and so far, no country has moved to formally
implement those recommendations. Nonetheless, the recommendations do have political significance,
and would require consideration.
The above non-binding United Nations-based initiatives are still works in progress, so it is not yet possible
to assess U.S. government compliance. Since the “UN Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines of the
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space,” have been finalized for a number of years, it is possible
to examine the manner and extent to which the U.S. government complies with those requirements.
UN Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space
The Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space reflect the
existing practices as developed by a number of national and international organizations. They are not
legally binding under international law. The Guidelines state: “Member States and international
organizations should voluntarily take measures, through national mechanisms or through their own
applicable mechanisms, to ensure that these guidelines are implemented, to the greatest extent feasible,
through space debris mitigation practices and procedures.” Therefore, an assessment of how these
guidelines are implemented through current U.S. national mechanism is discussed under Task 2.1.
These guidelines are applicable to mission planning and the operation of newly designed spacecraft and
orbital stages and, if possible, to existing ones. There are seven guidelines:
1) Limit debris released during nominal operations.
2) Minimize the potential for break-ups during operational phases.
3) Limit the probability of accidental collision in orbit.
4) Avoid intentional destruction and other harmful activities.
5) Minimize the potential for post-mission break-ups resulting from stored energy.
6) Limit the long-term presence of spacecraft and launch vehicle orbital stages in the low-Earth orbit
(LEO) region after the end of their mission.
7) Limit the long-term interference of spacecraft and launch vehicle orbital stages with the GEO region
after the end of their mission.
USG space activities attempt to comply with these nonbinding requirements while balancing national
security, industrial base, and budgetary consideration. Likewise, U.S. licensed and regulated private and
commercial space activities also comply to the extent required by U.S law and regulations.
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International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Recommendation ITU-R S.1003.2 (12/2010):
Environmental Protection of the Geostationary-Satellite Orbit
ITU-R S.1003.2 provides nonbinding guidance about disposal orbits for satellites in the geostationary
satellite orbit (GSO). The goal is to facilitate establishment of a protected region above, below and around
the geostationary orbital regime in order to reduce collision risks as this orbital region becomes more
crowded. It recommends that satellites, at the end of their operational life, be maneuvered to a higher
altitude to get out of the GSO region. The recommendations are:
•
•
•
•
As little debris as possible should be released into the GSO region during the placement of a
satellite in orbit.
Every reasonable effort should be made to shorten the lifetime of debris in elliptical transfer orbits
with the apogees at or near GSO altitude.
Before complete exhaustion of its propellant, a geostationary satellite at the end of its life should
be removed from the GSO region such that under the influence of perturbing forces on its
trajectory, it would subsequently remain in an orbit with a perigee no less than 200 km above the
geostationary altitude.
The transfer to the graveyard orbit removal should be carried out with particular caution in order
to avoid radio frequency interference with active satellites.
UNGA Resolution 47/68 (December 14, 1992): Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in
Outer Space.
UNGA Res 47/68 recognizes the need for a set of principles containing the goals and guidelines to ensure
the safe use of nuclear power sources in outer space. It may be argued that UNGA Res 47/68 provides a
precedent relevant to a number of space traffic management concerns including the concept of “zoning”
specific areas of orbital space for certain activities, establishing guidelines for the design and operation of
spacecraft, providing criteria for safety assessments and the safe use of the space object, and providing a
format for notifications of malfunctioning spacecraft with a risk of re-entry. Specifically:
Principle 3, paragraph 2, states that nuclear power sources “may be operated ‘in sufficiently high orbits’
or in low-Earth orbits if they are stored in sufficiently high orbits after the operational part of their
mission.”
Principle 3, paragraph 2 (d) and (e) concern the design and operation of nuclear powered spacecraft
including stating: “(d) Nuclear reactors shall not be made critical before they have reached their operating
orbit or interplanetary trajectory and (e) The design and construction of the nuclear reactor shall ensure
that it cannot become critical before reaching the operating orbit during all possible events, including
rocket explosion, re-entry, impact on ground or water, submersion on water or water intruding into the
core.”
Principle 4 includes safety criteria and arrangements among actors regarding safety assessments. Principle
5 is concerned with notifications of re-entry.
Conclusion
A review of all STM and orbital debris requirements under treaties and other international agreements to
which the United States is a party, and other nonbinding international arrangements in which the United
States participates, and the manner and extent to which the federal government complies with those
requirements and arrangements shows that there are few clear requirements, and where requirements
exist, such as regarding the Registration Convention or for example, orbital debris mitigation, the United
States is sufficiently within compliance.
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APPENDIX D
Assessment of Federal Government Space Traffic Management
and Space Situational Awareness Assets
The federal government’s STM and SSA assets can be categorized within two main operational concepts;
1) Individual spacecraft day-to-day mission / safety-of-flight operations, and 2) remote observations of
space objects through ground and space-based sensors.
Mission Operations Assets
The specific mission operations elements that comprise the “technology domain” stack vary across federal
agencies and for each individual spacecraft the USG operates. It is not the intent of this report to provide
a detailed description for each and every spacecraft the USG operates. However the majority of USG
spacecraft mission operations, as well as private operators, follow the operational concept depicted
below. Once a spacecraft is on-orbit, the primary function of mission operations is to remotely control the
spacecraft through one or more forms of radio frequency (RF) transmission. The primary services
provided by mission operations is the command and control (C2) of the spacecraft vehicle (commonly
referred to as the spacecraft bus), C2 of the spacecraft’s payload(s), and maintaining overall health and
safety of both the vehicle and payload(s). Supporting applications and computing platforms are commonly
combined within a single computing system which is located within the spacecraft’s operation center and
operated by a set of spacecraft operators. In many cases these spacecraft operations centers are manned
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However in some cases spacecraft operations is done in
what is referred to as “light-out operations” where the spacecraft operations center is unmanned and the
spacecraft performs a set a pre-defined commands; these forms of operations are more common for deep
space scientific missions and more recently academic CubeSats and commercial smallsat operators. Lastly,
one or more ground stations are used to transmit command to the spacecraft and receive spacecraft
telemetry or payload data back from the spacecraft. Although typically not considered a STM asset, C2
systems are inherently such for two reasons. First, the C2 system provides a means by which to determine
a spacecraft’s orbit. This can be performed using radio ranging systems (in which ground receivers can
measure the properties of a radio beacon transmitted by the spacecraft to determine the orbit) and/or
onboard GPS. Second, it is through C2 that spacecraft maneuver commands are transmitted. Such
maneuvers include those needed for collision avoidance.
Space Situational Awareness Assets
An operational summary of the USG current SSA architecture, representing each layer of the “technology
domain” stack, is depicted in Figure 3 below. The USG’s SSA architecture executes two main functions; 1)
develops the space operational picture that provides the technical foundation for the operational
protection/defense of DOD spacecraft, and 2) executes the government SSA data sharing functions. The
SSA architecture provides these functions through a series of products and services. These products and
services are described in more detail below, but include maintenance of the space catalog, conducting
conjunction assessments (CA), and providing collision warning/alerts messages to spacecraft owneroperators regardless of international designation. Various applications are used to support these services,
the key ones being the Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC)/Analyst Support Workstation (ASW)
and Space-Track.org. Underlying these applications are traditional information technology computer
platforms. Lastly, enabling the entire SSA architecture is a worldwide network of observation sensors (the
Space Surveillance Network - SSN) that detect and measure the position of space objects. The following
sections describe in more details the individual elements that make up the USG’s SSA architecture.
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Figure 3. USG SSA Architecture Overview
SSA Functions
The 18th Space Control Squadron (18 SPCS) under the 14th Air Force is tasked with promoting the
responsible use of space, advances spaceflight safety, and enhances SSA through the exchange of SSA
information with the global space community. To carry out this function, the 18 SPCS provides
foundational SSA analysis, assessments, and reporting, while JFCC-Space is responsible for Battle
Management Command and Control (BMC2) of USAF space assets. For the purpose of this assessment,
BMC2 functions are considered to be a defensive mission - protection of US government assets – and as
such were not examined in this report.
SSA Products and Services
Space Catalog
The 18 SPCS is responsible for the development and maintenance of the US space object catalog, which
includes both spacecraft and orbital debris. The space catalog comprises approximately 23,000 tracked
space objects and is updated on a daily basis. 18,000 of these space objects are tracked with sufficient
confidence that they are disseminated via a public catalog via the Space-Track.org web service. These
18,000 objects are comprised of payloads, rocket bodies, debris, and unknown objects. Figure 4 depicts
the population and composition of cataloged objects dating back to 1961. Of particular note is the increase
in the number of cataloged objects as a result of the Chinese anti-satellite missile (ASAT) test in 2007 and
Iridium-33 spacecraft/Cosmos-2251 collision in 2009. Some proposed new large constellations of small
satellites could add thousands more spacecraft to the space catalog over a few years. Also, it is estimated
that once the new Space Fence SSA radar system becomes operational, the number of space objects in
the space catalog could increase by approximately 60,000. 86 This estimated increase will add complexity
to the current conjunction assessment process, although the additional burden may be offset by a
beneficial reduction in space object orbit uncertainty used to determine probability of collisions
86
Personal communications Air Force Space Command, 15 November 2016. Note that these space objects are
currently in orbit, but current SSN capabilities do not allow them to be tracked.
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Figure 4. Number of Tracked Space Objects within U.S. Space Catalog 87
Figure 5 below provides a detailed look into the population density of space objects ion Low Earth Orbit
(100km – 2,000km). Significant growth has occurred within the region of 500 – 1,000km since 2007.
Figure 5. Spatial Density (Population Density) of Tracked Objects in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) 88
87
“18 SPCS Mission Brief,” Air Force Space Command, Lt Col. Scott Putnam.
NASA
“Orbital
Debris
Quarterly
News,”
Volume
18,
https://orbitaldebris.jsc.nasa.gov/quarterly-news/pdfs/odqnv18i2.pdf.
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Conjunction Assessment (CA) Services
The USAF conducts 24/7 CAs for approximately 1400 active spacecraft in the space catalog. CA is the
process of identifying a close approach between a spacecraft and another space object. CAs utilize a
standard conjunction assessment screening process – see Figure 6. The process begins with screening and
updating the space catalog based on observational sensor data. Then the 18 SPCS performs an initial
screening of all spacecraft against the catalog to identify conjunction candidates. The candidates are then
reevaluated by the 18 SPCS Orbital Safety Analysts to ensure the most current observations are
incorporated. The 18 SPCS conducts a refinement screening to update the conjunction estimates of the
conjunction candidates. If the parameters of the conjunction are within the criteria that identify a close
approach, the 18 SPCS will notify the owner-operator of the conjunction. 89
Figure 6. JSPoC Conjunction Screening Process
If a conjunction is identified, the 18 SPCS will contact the owner-operator of the conjunction candidate
through a standardized process. Owner-operators will receive email notifications depending on the
screening performed and results. The emails are generated and transmitted via Space-Track.org and the
messages can be:
•
89
3.
A Close Approach Notification that are sent for every prediction that meets emergency reportable
criteria; 90
JFCC Space, Spaceflight Safety Handbook for Satellite Operators, Joint Space Operations Center, August 2016.11,
90
Emergency reportable criteria includes primary, secondary, miss distances, TCA, and for near earth events, and
Probability of Collision (Pc).
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•
•
Conjunction Data Messages (CDMs) that notify the owner-operator that new conjunction data is
available on Space-Track.org for their organization. In 2015, the DOD issued 1,297,891 CDMs. 91
Negative Result emails that confirms that a specific orbit has been screened and states that there
are no collision results within the orbit screening volume;
Expanded Results emails that confirm that a specific orbit has been screened, and that there are
results that are within the orbit screening volumes, but not within emergency reportable
criteria.92
DOD Products and Services:
Using a variety of software applications and analysis conducted by operations staff, DOD provides
numerous products and services to private and international owner-operators. These products and
services include early stakeholder engagement, Launch Collision Avoidance, Launch Support, Early Orbit
Conjunction Assessment, Collision Avoidance, End-of-Life Disposal, Deorbit, and Re-entry, Human
Spaceflight Safety, and NASA/NOAA robotic spacecraft collision avoidance support.
Early Stakeholder Engagement:
Early engagement has increasingly become important to the USSTRATCOMs SSA Sharing Program. The 18
SPCS reaches out to new operators and complex missions to exchange mission briefs well ahead of mission
execution. Early engage includes public conferences & workshops, communications with ownersoperators to encourage spacecraft registration, identify upcoming missions and request contact info for
alert notification, CubeSat recommendations, development of a Spaceflight Safety Handbook for
Operators, and sharing of SSA data via Space-Track.org. Early engagement has benefited USSTRATCOMs
role of promoting the responsible use of space and advancing spaceflight safety.
Launch Collision Avoidance (LCOLA):
Launch Collision Avoidance (LCOLA) is identification of potential conjunctions that may result in a collision
between launching objects and space objects. Using owner-operator-provided information, the 18 SPCS
screens the launch vehicle against the space catalog and identifies periods during the launch window,
which may put the rocket and payload at increased risk for collision. Screening begins at an altitude of
150km or greater and continues until either location uncertainty makes performing the screening no
longer feasible or until the rocket body/sub-orbital components descend to 150km or less.
After the spacecraft is in orbit, the 18 SPCS conducts an early orbit CA that screens the owner-operator
provided orbit against the catalog to facilitate the safe maneuvering of a newly launched object into its
final orbit. 93
Launch Support:
The 18 SPCS provide predicted tracking, including pre-launch coordination and post-launch early orbit
determination (EODET), for those launch agencies that provide launch parameters. After launch, the 18
SPCS can confirm nominal tracking by each sensor, and provide initial element sets, as well as work directly
with the spacecraft operators to expedite cataloging and identification of all spacecraft, which is
91
92
7.
“18 SPCS Mission Brief,” Air Force Space Command, Lt Col. Scott Putnam, 26.
JFCC Space, Spaceflight Safety Handbook for Satellite Operators, Joint Space Operations Center, August 2016.11,
JFCC Space, Spaceflight Safety Handbook for Satellite Operators, Joint Space Operations Center, August 2016.11,
8-9.
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exceptionally important for multi-payload launches. In the event of launch anomalies (such as a booster
failure, a launch failure, a spacecraft achieving the incorrect orbit, etc.), the 18 SPCS may provide anomaly
resolution support.
Early Orbit Conjunction Assessment (CA):
Early Orbit CA includes pre-screening of owner-operator-provided ephemeris against the space catalog to
facilitate safe maneuvering. Owner-operators may provide more than one ephemeris file for each early
maneuver to allow analysis of multiple scenarios. It is important to note that the 18 SPCS does not
recommend collision avoidance courses of action (i.e. tell an operator to maneuver or not) as a result of
DOD’s limited authority over commercial entities, combined with legal liability and indemnification.
Operators may develop their own collision avoidance maneuver and submit this plan ahead of time to the
18 SPCS to determine any reduction in the probability of collision and/or miss distance.
Collision Avoidance (COLA):
Collision avoidance (COLA) is the process of planning and possibly executing a maneuver in response to a
close approach identified during the CA process. Based on the CA results, the owner-operator decides
whether or not to perform collision avoidance by maneuvering their spacecraft. If they do not perform
COLA, the 18 SPCS will continue to monitor the conjunction and provide updates based on data from the
SSN until the time of closest approach (TCA) has passed. If the owner-operator decides to perform COLA,
they may send the 18 SPCS their predictive ephemeris data, which the JSpOC will then screen against the
catalog and send updated notifications to the owner-operator so that they may decide how to proceed.
This exchange of data may continue until the TCA, after which the 18 SPCS will resume routine screening
of the spacecraft.
It is important to note that submission of a maneuver plan and or acknowledgement of an avoidance
message is strictly voluntary.
Figure 7 provides a summary of the confirmed maneuvers since 2010 due to the issuing of CDM
message. 94 In 2015 DOD provided 1,297,891 CDMs to spacecraft owner-operators, a 93 percent increase
over the previous year.
94
“Near Earth” objects are LEO spacecraft, while “Deep Space” objects are GEO spacecraft.
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Figure 7. Confirmed COLA Maneuvers Due to CDMs
An important observation made during the assessment was that the 18 SPCS does not always have contact
information for the operator so as to deliver the conjunction message, as registration of spacecraft
operators is not standardized. Operators are asked to report collision avoidance maneuvers to the 18
SPCS. Compliance on the part of the owner-operator is purely voluntary and submitted by email. In the
hope of improving the consistency of maneuver reporting and allow the 18 SPCS to integrate the
notifications into orbit determination solutions, the 18 SPCS is implementing the ability to submit
maneuver notifications using the CCSDS Orbital Parameter Message (OPM) through Space-Track.org.
End-of-Life/Disposal:
If an owner/operator decides to move a spacecraft to a less-populated orbit at the end of its lifetime, the
18 SPCS will assist the owner-operator by screening maneuver ephemeris and providing results. All owneroperator-provided ephemeris will be screened using standard ephemeris screening volumes, and results
will be provided in accordance with basis or advanced reporting criteria.
Deorbit:
A deorbit is the controlled reentry of a spacecraft into the earth’s atmosphere. If an owner-operator
decides to deorbit a spacecraft or rocket stage through a series of maneuvers, the 18 SPCS can provide CA
screenings, as well as coordinate with NASA to ensure the deorbiting spacecraft safely descends through
the ISS’ orbit. After the spacecraft completes their maneuvers, the 18 SPCS can confirm final reentry.
Reentry:
A reentry is an uncontrolled reentry of an object into the earth’s atmosphere. Support includes reentry
predictions through Space-Track.org, and ground traces and tracking confirmations with an approved
orbital data request. Reentry assessments are predictions of the time and location where an object will
reenter the atmosphere (not where the object will impact the ground).
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Reentry Assessments (RAs) are initialized 7-10 days prior to the predicted reentry date. At this point sensor
tasking is increased and assessments run once per day, but aren’t published due to extreme variability of
predications at this point. Then four days prior to reentry, the 18 SPCS continues to increase tasking, and
begins issuing Tracking and Impact Predications (TIP) messages once per day through Space-Track.org. For
entities with an approved Orbital Data Request, the 18 SPCS will also provide ground traces and
observations from select sensors. Within 24 hours of reentry RAs increase, and TIP messages are updated
at the 12-, 6-, and 2-hour points. Finally once the predicted reentry time passed, SSN is tasked for
expanded time period surrounding object TLE. Only after three (3) sensors confirm no tracking of the
object (“no-show”) will the 18 PSCS confirm final reentry.
Anomaly Support:
In the event of a non-nominal situation during any phase of operations, the 18 SPCS can provide anomaly
support to help the spacecraft owner-operator resolve the situation. The support that can be provided is
contingent on classification and releasabilty of the information.
Human Space Flight Safety:
The 18 SPCS provides 24/7 collision avoidance assessment for ISS in support of NASA. These assessments
include coordination with NASA on all operational events (docking, undocking, CubeSat releases, etc.). A
civilian employee at the JSpOC / 18 SPCS serves a Human Spaceflight Safety coordination function and
interfaces with NASA personnel at the Johnson Spaceflight Center. More details on the operations
processes used are provided in Appendix E.
NASA Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis (CARA) group support
Headquartered at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), CARA provides conjunction risk analysis
services for NASA's robotic missions (e.g. the NASA A-Train, Morning Constellation, etc.) in all phases of
the mission lifecycle. CARA personnel (government contractor staff) physically sit in the JSpOC and
interface with their other members of their team at GSFC. JSpOC products and service are made directly
available to CARA. CARA staff provide advisory services directly to the mission operations staff for each
spacecraft. It is the operations staff for each spacecraft mission that ultimately makes collision avoidance
maneuvering decisions.
Computing Platforms: Space Defense Operations Center (SPADOC) /Joint Space Operations Center
(JSpOC) Mission System (JMS) and Astrodynamics Workstation (AWS)
The SPADOC is a legacy system that was originally deployed in the late 1970s and was designed to support
consolidated space surveillance and missile warning functions within the NORAD Cheyenne Mountain
Complex (vice a Space Traffic Safety function). Today SPADOC remains the primary means to ingest all
300,000-400,000 daily observations from the SSN and perform General Perturbation (GP) orbital solutions
for objects within the space catalog.
JMS will replace legacy SPADOC and space-specific portions of the Correlation, Analysis, and Verification
of Ephemerides Network systems, both of which are aging and unsustainable, and cannot meet changing
threat, operating environment, and mission requirements.
AWS, which resides upon the JSpOC’s CaveNET, is a companion tool that is fed SSN observations from
SPADOC. AWS is the primary means to compute the High Accuracy Catalog and performs all conjunction
assessment analysis.
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Data Sensors: United States Space Surveillance Network (SSN)
Figure 8 provides an overview of the U.S. SSN that comprises the data sensors layer within the
“Technology Domain”. The SSN is a worldwide network of 30+ space surveillance sensors (radar and
optical telescopes, both military and civilian) to observe space objects. Each day the SSN generates
between 380,000 to 420,000 observations of space objects.
Figure 8. Space Surveillance Network (SSN) Overview
Across the SSN are three distinct sensor categories: dedicated, collateral, and contributing. Dedicated
sensors are primarily used in support of the space surveillance mission. Collateral sensors have other
primary missions, such as missile warning, but still provide support to space surveillance. Lastly,
contributing sensors are mainly comprised of other parities sensors (commercial, university, etc.) that
provide data in support of space surveillance. Because of the limits of the current SSN (number of sensors,
geographic distribution, capability, and availability), the 18 SPCS utilizes a "predictive" technique to
monitor space objects, i.e. it spot checks them rather than tracking them continually. In terms of sensor
tasking, 18 SPCS control where and when to point these sensors ranges from complete control in terms
of dedicated sensors to little or no control over contributing sensors. Below is a brief description of each
type of sensor: 95
95
USSTRATCOM SPACE CONTROL AND SPACE SURVEILLANCE FACTSHEET.
HTTPS://WWW.STRATCOM.MIL/FACTSHEETS/11/SPACE_CONTROL_AND_SPACE_SURVEILLANCE/. DATED:
JANUARY 2014.
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•
•
•
•
Conventional radars use moveable tracking antennas or fixed detection and tracking antennas to
observe objects in space. These observations are achieved by the tracking antenna steering a
narrow beam of energy toward a spacecraft and uses the returned (reflected) energy to compute
the location of the spacecraft. By following the spacecraft's motion, more data can be collected
and a more precise orbit can be determined for the space object. Examples of conventional radars
include the Altair complex at the Reagan Test Site in the Kwajalein Atoll and the Haystack
Millstone facility at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory.
Phased-array radars can maintain tracks on multiple spacecraft simultaneously and scan large
areas of space in a fraction of a second. Phased-array radars observe and track space objects the
same as conventional radars, but they do so without the use of mechanically steered antennas.
Because the radar energy is steered electronically, there is no limit to the speed of the radar scan.
Two examples of phased-array radars include Cavalier AFS in North Dakota and Eglin AFB in
Florida.
Electro-optical sensors consist of telescopes linked to video cameras and computers. The video
cameras feed their space pictures into a nearby computer where it is analyzed in real-time.
Various characteristics of the space object, including its position, can be obtained from imagery
analysis. Ground-Based Electro-Optical Deep Space Surveillance (GEODSS) sites assigned to Air
Force Space Command (AFSPC) play a vital role in tracking deep space objects. Between 4,200 and
4,400 objects, including geostationary communications spacecraft, are in deep space orbits more
than 22,500 miles from Earth.
Space based sensors have the ability to detect debris, spacecraft, or other distant space objects
without interference from weather, atmosphere, or time of day. Space based sensors use optical
or infrared sensors that either scan, or quickly focus between space objects. These observations
are then sent to the ground where they are processed.
Data Sensors: Owner-Operators Ephemeris
Additionally, the USG utilizes alternative means (such as spacecraft generated ephemeris, on-board GPS,
and geo-location of communications beacons) of spacecraft orbit determining for its own assets. These
means provide a more accurate, timely, and trusted data source over remote observations systems.
However these alternative means have their limitations; this approach only works for 1) operational
spacecraft, and 2) spacecraft to which the USG is the owner-operator or has been granted access to the
satellite telemetry data by the owner-operator. Because of the critical nature of the JSpOC’s space
defense mission, there are strict SSA data validation requirements which limit the ability to ingest owneroperator data for use in the space catalog.
Summary
DOD supplies a sizeable number of valuable Space Traffic Safety related products and services across the
USG, private, and international space enterprise. These products and services are relied upon by a
growing number of private and international owner-operators. The effectiveness of these products and
services, however, is limited as the DOD SSA and C2 systems are not optimized for the Space Traffic Safety
function. This limits SSA data transparency, quality, and timeliness and in addition, it impacts the DOD
ability to focus on its main mission and appropriate tune their systems to warfighting requirements.
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APPENDIX E
Unique Human Spaceflight Safety Considerations
The protection of the health and safety of humans involved in space activities is of paramount importance.
In the context of a space traffic management paradigm, there are unique safety considerations needed
for human spaceflight needed to minimize hazards in the space environment. These hazards include:
•
•
•
•
•
Micro-Meteoroid/Orbital Debris (MM/OD) and operational space objects that, in a collision, could
penetrate a crewed space system, resulting in catastrophic failure or loss of pressurization.
Solar flares that could expose crew to dangerous levels of high-energy radiation.
Ground-based lasers that could cause temporary or permanent eye damage.
Ground-based radars that could expose crew to dangerous levels of radio-frequency radiation.
Hostile space events.
Safety considerations for the International Space Station (ISS) are especially vital, as
•
•
•
•
The ISS is continuously occupied by three to six crew members.
The large size (cross-sectional area) of the ISS increases the probability of collision with MM/OD
and operational space objects, relative to other space vehicles.
The ISS is maneuverable in orbit (i.e. can raise or lower its orbit), but maneuvers in attitude are
limited (e.g. cannot rotate in a way to present a lower cross-sectional area to a threatening piece
of orbital debris).
The ISS is in a LEO which most launch vehicles cross while ascending, and most other LEO orbital
debris cross while decaying prior to reentry. Also, this relatively low altitude means that energy
from ground based lasers and radars is still high enough to present a crew safety hazard.
Probabilistic risk assessment (PRA) calculations show that MM/OD impact risk with the ISS are a
significant, and in most cases primary, contributor to the risk that the entire ISS crew will require
evacuation, one or more crew members is lost, or that all crew members and the ISS are lost in a
catastrophic event. Table 4 shows the odds of these possible events over the course of six months, all the
result of a MM/OD impact. 96
Table 4. Results of PRA for Odds of MM/OD Root Cause Event on ISS
MM/OD Root Cause Event
Odds
Evacuation: Scenarios that are not immediately catastrophic but pose a threat to
the crew, and would result in crew evacuation.
Loss of Crew: Scenarios that result in the death of one or more crewmembers. It
is restricted to those cases where death is immediate or evacuation is not
possible.
Loss of Crew and Vehicle: Scenarios that result in the immediate loss of the ISS
and crew. The crew would have insufficient time to take corrective action or
evacuate.
1 in 112
1 in 228
1 in 5,000
As debris populations grow in LEO, the odds of MM/OD root cause events on ISS will become higher (i.e.
worsen); but, this study did not find any analysis that quantified this increased risk. Recent analysis by
the Aerospace Corporation on new large LEO constellations (discussed in detail in Appendix F) found that
such constellations could increase the number of collision warnings with ISS six-fold, for example, as the
96
ISS Version 2.3 PRA Results (briefing slides), ISS Risk Team, November 16, 2011.
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decommissioned spacecraft in those constellations decay through the ISS orbit. This result does not
correspond to a direct increase in the odds of a MM/OD root cause event, but does show that risk can go
up.
Figure 9. Overall ISS MM/OD Approach 97
The overall approach for ISS/Man Visiting Vehicles (MVV) MM/OD is summarized in Figure 9. The intent
is to shield ISS from debris that can’t be tracked and maneuver away from debris that can. This requires
a model of the environment whereby testing of shielding design can be performed on sized objects that
cannot be tracked.
97
Hazard Report, “Loss of ISS Due to Micrometeoroid/Orbital Debris (M/OD) Impact”, The Boeing Company,
February 27, 1998.
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ISS is currently in an assembly complete configuration with shield designs based on older environmental
models. The latest model predicts an increased risk of penetration of the pressurized sections. The ISS
program accepted this risk with additional mitigation of potentially adding additional shielding/repair
techniques to some hardware. Figure 10 shows pictures of ISS MM/OD damage. NASA imagery database
documented approximately 300 MM/OD strikes on ISS. None of the MM/OD objects were tracked prior
to striking the ISS.
Figure 10. MM/OD Hits
To reduce the risk of the hazards to government astronauts, DOD and NASA created processes and
procedures for the interchange of technical data to be used for informed decision-making by NASA while
conducting operations of ISS, vehicles visiting ISS (to include both manned and robotic vehicles), and other
vehicles carrying government astronauts. Two documents guide these processes and procedures:
1) Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DOD and NASA for Support to NASA Spaceflight
Operations, 15 Mar 05. This MOA establishes NASA requirements for DOD Support of both NASA
human and robotic missions (and others crewed by NASA personnel or with NASA payloads). For
human spaceflight missions, it implements recommendations identified by the Columbia Accident
Investigation Board. Specific NASA requirements are listed in appendices.
2) USSTRATCOM Joint Functional Component Command for Space and NASA Office of Space
Operations Interagency Operating Instruction (OI) for Human Spaceflight Support. This OI focuses
on space surveillance and related surveillance analysis support provided by USSTRATCOM and its
components to Johnson Space Center for the ISS and other vehicles used for human spaceflight
missions.
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Combined, these documents establish NASA’s detailed technical needs and interagency procedures to
conduct the following safety focused activities for human spaceflight:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Space Environment Characterization. This data, from all orbital regimes, provides information
that can be used to determine the overall risk to human spaceflight safety due to orbital debris.
Track and Debris Catalog Maintenance.
Launch Trajectory Support. This includes monitoring of both arrival and departure of Visiting
Vehicles (VV, e.g. SpaceX Dragon, Orbital Cygnus) to the ISS (either manned or robotic).
On-orbit Support. This primarily includes CA and tracking of ISS and any other vehicles carrying
government astronauts. ISS CA is performed a minimum of once every 8 hours. The CA
information is provided by DOD for the ISS using the special perturbations Resident Space Objects
catalog. The information includes, at a minimum, miss distance and time of conjunction, state
vectors for both the asset and the conjuncting object, and state vector uncertainty (covariance)
for both the asset and conjuncting object. NASA will use CA information (vehicle state vectors
and covariances) to compute the probability of collision between the asset and the conjuncting
object. If the probability of collision exceeds 1 in 10,000, a maneuver may be planned and
executed. Figure 11 shows the number of times by year the ISS was commanded to conduct a
debris avoidance maneuver (DAM) using onboard propulsion or using an attached Space Shuttle.
This activity consumes most of the daily DOD-NASA operational interaction.
Re-entry support.
Space Object Identification. This includes monthly imaging support of the ISS, which is used to
locate and identify possible structural anomalies (e.g. created by debris impact or shedding
events).
Advisories and Warnings of Potential Threats to Space Operations.
Figure 11. ISS Debris Avoidance Maneuvers (DAMs) since 1999 98
98
Liou, J.C., “USA Space Debris Environment, Operations, and Research Updates,” 53rd Session of the Scientific and
Technical Subcommittee Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, United Nations 15-26 February 2016.
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The above Human Space Flight (HSF) related data and information is collected, developed, and
disseminated by the JSpOC to NASA JSC. A government employee, working for the 18 Space Control
Squadron, is assigned the 24/7 crew task of HSF Orbital Safety Analyst support on the JSpOC floor. This
HSF OSA liaises with a Trajectory Operations Officer (TOPO), who is a NASA employee at JSC acting as
trajectory operations controller for all ISS operations. 99 The TOPO coordinates with ISS Mission Control
Center to determine courses of action (e.g. to maneuver to avoid space debris).
Implications/Considerations
The STRATCOM/NASA JSC process for HSF is well understood, efficient, practiced, and effective. In any
future Space Traffic Management Safety Governance Framework, this would remain an inter-agency
operation. Future commercial HSF endeavors would require an orbital safety practice and process and
would be informed by the existing process used to protect government astronauts. There remain unique
DOD capabilities used for HSF orbital safety monitoring that would be difficult to immediately transition
to a civil agency. This would add complexity to any near-term future construct in which a civil organization
would be made responsible for HSF safety, especially for NASA missions.
99
It is congressionally mandated for TOPOs to accomplish training with the JSpOC (now 18 SPCS) as a part of
certification program with NASA.
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APPENDIX F
Risk Associated with Smallsats
In conducting this assessment, it was necessary first to address the meaning of “smallsats”. There is some
inconsistency, even in the space community, in definition of the term. For the purpose of this assessment
we assume that “smallsats” are any spacecraft with a wetmass (i.e. fueled) of 500 kg or less. Of particular
concern and interest are CubeSats, which are 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and have a mass of about 1 kg. These
dimensions and mass represent a CubeSat “Unit” (U). Multiple CubeSats Units can be attached together
to create a larger and more capable smallsat. After 2013 the “3U” or three Unit CubeSats became the
most frequently launched type of spacecraft in the 1-50 kg range. 6U and 12U CubeSats are also common.
Also of interest are smallsats that make up large constellations that consist of hundreds to thousands of
spacecraft placed into one specific orbital altitude (for each constellation) in LEO. These spacecraft are
about 100-200 kg in wetmass.
A growing population of smallsats has raised concern for orbital safety. The major risk drivers creating
this concern include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
100
Smallsats typically have less maneuverability than larger spacecraft, to include many that have no
maneuverability at all. This limits the ability to reduce the probability of potential collisions, as
well as the ability to accelerate orbital decay leading to re-entry (for LEO spacecraft).
Lowered barriers to entry enable inexperienced entrants, from high schools to small countries, to
gain space launch access and operate smallsats, possibly leading to poor operational decisionmaking.
Inexperience on the part of new entrants building smallsats (particularly CubeSats) leads to higher
incidence of quality control and/or design issues, thereby increasing odds of failure. Limited size
and mass restrict redundancy used for reliable design, thereby limiting robustness to failure. For
instance, historic data found that of the first 100 CubeSats launched (between 2000 and 2012),
17 failed in the first 10 days of orbit, with another 9 failing in the first 100 days of orbit. 100 Even
those CubeSats that operate for their designed lifetimes do not remain functional for more than
a period of a few years due to intolerance to the space environment (e.g. radiation). The overall
impact to reduced quality, reliability, and design life, coupled with the inability to maneuver is
that CubeSats in LEO spend a large percentage of their orbital lifetimes in a non-operational state.
The small size, especially of CubeSats and smaller spacecraft (down to the “chip” level) present a
SSA challenge to track, identify, and maintain custody (i.e. continue to identify a given spacecraft).
This is especially true during initial deployments, when multiple spacecraft are released in the
same vicinity over a short period of time.
The launch frequency of smallsats is accelerating. 2016 forecasts show that over 200 spacecraft
will be launched in the 1-50 kg range (mostly CubeSats). That rate could double by 2021. 101
Typical LEO orbits of small spacecraft present a potential hazard to the ISS while they decay
towards the upper atmosphere.
LEO large constellations of spacecraft in the 100-500 kg potentially create new orbit zones (above
1000 km) with significant densities of satellites. Also, these satellites must be replenished on
timescales of about five years. Therefore, a significant number of spacecraft will de-orbit and/or
decay through a region of LEO that is populated with orbital debris and other spacecraft.
Swartwout, Michael. "The first one hundred CubeSats: A statistical look." Journal of Small Satellites 2.2 (2013):
213-233.
101
Doncaster, Bill, et al. "SpaceWorks' 2016 Nano/Microsatellite Market Forecast." (2016).
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In contemplating the need to mitigate safety risks created by smallsats, it is important to consider their
relative current and future impact to Space Traffic Safety.
•
•
Smallsat populations overall are currently fractions of the total debris population, especially those
debris populations in sizes that are of major concern. Figure 12, provided by the NASA JSC Orbital
Debris Program Office, shows the debris populations statistics by size. CubeSats, of size 10–50
cm, have populations at least two orders of magnitude less than the current total for all debris of
that size. 1 cm size debris (which is concern because of the hazard it presents while being difficult
to track) has a total population 1,000 more than that of CubeSats. Conclusions from this data
must be tempered with the fact that collision risk is driven by space object spatial density, not by
raw total numbers.
CubeSats accounted for only three of the 121 maneuvers larger spacecraft had to perform in 2014
to avoid a potential collision. 102
Figure 12. Debris Population by Size
•
New Aerospace Corporation modeling has been conducted to evaluate collision risk created by
planned CubeSats and potential new large constellations 103104 A summary of findings include:
– The near-term assessment is that the likelihood of increased collisions is not appreciably
increased, as long as maneuvers for collision avoidance are performed for spacecraft both
Gruss, Mike, “Are CubeSats a Nuisance to Space Situational Awareness Efforts?,” SpaceNews, September 23,
2016, http://spacenews.com/are-cubesats-a-nuisance-to-space-situational-awareness-efforts/.
103
Peterson, Glen, et al., “Implications of Proposed Small Satellite Constellations on Space Traffic Management and
Long-Term Debris Growth in Near-Earth Environment,” 67th International Astronautical Congress, Guadalajara,
Mexico, September 2016. Followed up by personal conversations with lead author.
104
Peterson, Glen, et al., “Effect of CubeSats on Collisions and Long-Term Debris Growth in Near-Earth
Environment,” 67th International Astronautical Congress, Guadalajara, Mexico, September 2016.
102
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–
–
–
during normal operations and controlled disposals. (If that disposal method is available).
Over longer periods of time—decades to centuries—failed satellites in these
constellations would create the likelihood of about one to two additional collision per
year.
LEO large-constellations can significantly increase conjunction warnings. For a 4,000+
spacecraft constellation, conservative modeling found that 64 million collision warnings
per year would result, just among spacecraft in the constellation.
CubeSats that are launched in lower LEO orbits (and thereby follow the 25-year rule) do
not significantly raise risk of collision and, for the assumed model of future CubeSat
activity, result in maximum of 10 percent additional orbital debris population (greater
than 1 cm).
CubeSats that are launched in higher LEO orbits (and thereby do not follow the 25-year
rule) dominate debris production created by all LEO CubeSats.
Current formal government coordination of small spacecraft activities consists of
•
•
FCC Licensing of spectrum per 47 CFR Part 25, Part 5 (experimental), or Part 97 (amateur). As part
of these reviews, regardless of vehicle, submission of an orbital debris assessment report (ODAR)
is required. The general requirements for completion of the ODAR are no different than any other
spacecraft licensed by the FCC.
FAA payload review as part of the Launch Licensing process per Commercial Space Transportation
Licensing Regulations, 14 CFR Part 415.51 through 14 CFR Part 415.6: “The FAA issues a favorable
payload determination unless it determines that launch of the proposed payload would
jeopardize public health and safety, safety of property, U.S. national security or foreign policy
interests, or international obligations of the United States.”
These reviews provide a mechanism to verify best practices are generally being followed to limit orbital
debris risk.
The JSpOC has created guidelines for optimal CubeSat operations. These include:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Identification markers (passive or active) for satellites that are deployed on multi-spacecraft
dispensers.
A design that includes some maneuver capability.
Additional of capability for controlled or expedited un-controlled re-entry.
Operational lifetime greater than 2/3 of total orbital lifetime.
Deployment from or below the ISS and into high inclination orbits (to improve tracking
capabilities).
Multi-second deployment intervals during propulsive maneuvers by carrier or 60 second intervals
during coast of the carrier.
Engagement with the JSpOC during pre-mission planning, during deployment, and sharing of orbit
and other relevant data in the operations phase.
These represent thoughtful recommendations, based on experience, that can mitigate Space Traffic
Safety risks and add to overall SSA (and therefore is likewise beneficial to space defense and protection).
A number of considerations should be made when evaluating possible USG coordination of smallsat
activities:
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•
•
•
•
•
•
Issues and concerns (risk drivers) associated with smallsats are not necessarily exclusive to
spacecraft of small size. Therefore, any coordination activities considered should not be
designated based on spacecraft size, but rather on spacecraft and operator capabilities,
limitations, and attributes including:
– Orbital Lifetimes
– Operational Lifetimes
– Maneuverability
– Planned Orbits
– De-orbit planning and capabilities
As with all Space Traffic Safety issues, the development of smallsats is an international issue. For
instance, in 2015, 40% of all smallsats in the 1-50 kg range were launched on foreign launch
vehicles 105.
The recent Aerospace Corporation analysis on smallsat risks is a good beginning to quantifying
the possible hazards of smallsats. Such research must continue to provide a technical basis for
development of future best practices, guidelines, standards, and possible rules and regulations.
One of the most important results of the current studies is modeling validation that orbital
lifetimes of spacecraft in LEO (e.g. CubeSats) significantly influences collision risk; therefore,
evaluation and reconsideration of the 25 year rule that is part of orbital debris mitigation
guidelines could provide a good near-term means of Space Traffic Safety risk mitigation.
The JSpOC CubeSat operation guidelines are a good beginning for the possible development of
best practices and standards to be embraced by the community that can lead to possible formal
policies and regulations. Once again, these need not be specific to CubeSats.
It is observed that the deployment of large number of smallsats on a carrier vehicle requires a
central coordinating organization representing the equities of all smallsat owner-operators
involved. The need for such an organization needs to be stressed in future launches involving
carrier vehicles.
Information assurance practices are important to limit risks. Currently there is no best practice,
guideline, standard, or rule to encrypt command and control of smallsats. This represents a risk
of remote disabling and/or commanding of a spacecraft, which could result in purposeful creation
of a Space Traffic Safety hazard.
Finally, identification schemes, both active and passive, add to situational awareness of smallsat position.
Approaches can be created that especially provide better awareness of smallsat position after failure or
end-of-life of a spacecraft. Such SSA capability adds to better decision-making and a more informed
evaluation of risk. But this is a two-way street. The organization responsible for Space Traffic Safety must
also be capable of ingesting this source of SSA in near real-time and rapidly updating the space catalog.
105
Doncaster, Bill, et al. "SpaceWorks' 2016 Nano/Microsatellite Market Forecast." (2016).
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APPENDIX G
Assessment of Private Sector Information Sharing Activities
Multiple options for sharing SSA data are available to the operational space community. The primary
reason for sharing SSA data among the private sector is to promote the safe and efficient space
operations. Today data sharing activities generally involve the exchange of spacecraft owner-operator
information, top-level spacecraft characteristics (i.e. function), spacecraft position and location data, and
RF characteristic (i.e. transmission / receive frequencies). Private sector information sharing activities can
be summarized as either private-private or government-private sharing agreements. Private-government
sharing agreements consist of data sharing agreements between the USG and commercial entities.
Private-private data sharing agreements have a variety of models that include membership associations,
corporate-to-corporate data sharing, and open source / publically available data sets. These two
categories of agreements are discussed in further detail in the following sections.
USSTRATCOM SSA Sharing Program
The UGS’s SSA sharing agreements consist of sharing USG SAA products and services, described in
Appendix D, with non-USG entities. Examining the policy domain stack, the responsibility of overseeing
USG SSA sharing agreements is assigned to the DOD. Authorities are described in Title 10 USC 2274, which
assigns the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) authority to provide SSA services and information to, obtain
SSA data and information from, non-USG entities. These actions may be taken only if the SECDEF
determines that such action is consistent with the national security interests of the United States.
Furthermore the SECDEF may not provide SSA services and information under subsection (a) to a nonUSG entity unless that entity enters into an agreement with the Secretary under which the entity agrees
to: 106
•
•
•
Pay an amount that may be charged by the SECDEF under subsection (d);
Not transfer any data or technical information received under the agreement including the
analysis of data, to any other entity without the express approval of the SECDEF; and
Any other terms and conditions considered necessary by the SECDEF.
In addition to SSA sharing with non-USG entities, the National Space Policy (PDD-4) 28 June 2010 directs
the sharing of SSA information to support: national security, civil space agencies, HSF, commercial and
foreign space operations. The National Security Space Strategy (Jan 11) expands on this by stating the
DOD will foster cooperative SSA relationships; support safe space operations; protect U.S. and allied space
capabilities and operations; encourage other space operators to share their spaceflight safety data; and
continue to expand provision of safety of flight services to USG agencies, other nations, and commercial
firms. These activities include provide orbital tracking information, and predictions of space object
conjunction as described in Appendix D.
Today USSTRATCOM is responsible for the SSA sharing program, which today is executed through the
JSpOC and 18 SPCS. 107 USSTRATCOM directs what SSA data can be shared with non-USG entities. SSA
sharing with non-U.S. entities (individual foreign governments, governmental organizations and
national/international corporations) is conducted in accordance with USSTRATCOM SSA Strategy (Feb
106
107
Title 10 USC 2274, Subsection C.
As outlined in the JFCC SPACE Capstone CONOPS (2016).
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2014), STRATCOM Instruction 534-03, Sharing SSA Information (18 Jan 2013) 108 and separate,
standardized SSA Sharing Agreements signed by CDRUSSTRATCOM. 109
Over the years, the number of spacecraft and operating organizations has steadily climbed, and as space
launch becomes less expensive and more accessible. In 2010, the DOD screened 890 satellites, for 108
organizations. Now, the DOD screens approximately 1400 spacecraft for 260 distinct organizations (see
Figure 13).
Figure 13. Distinct Organizations supported through SSA Sharing Program
The USG SSA Sharing Program is focused on spaceflight safety, which includes a range of services intended
to prevent human casualty, damage to property on the surface of the earth, and mission degradation,
failure, or damage to any active on-orbit asset. Currently the USG offers three SSA sharing levels:
1. Basic: The USG basic level of SSA sharing is available to anyone with a user account on Space-
Track.org. This level of services includes orbit information (Two Line Element sets ) for unclassified
objects, space catalog data, collision avoidance, and reentry predictions. As part of
USSTRATCOM’s SSA Sharing Program, collision avoidance is provided for everyone who operates
a spacecraft, at no cost. SSA data for this level of service is derived from the legacy SPADOC system
and is planned capability for the future JMS system. Consumers of these services include
commercial entities, non-U.S. governments, academia, and even hobbyists. As space becomes
more accessible, participants become more diverse with varying levels of experience and differing
motivations. Currently, Space-Track.org has approximately 116,000 registered users from nearly
every country in the world.
2. Emergency: The USG Emergency level of SSA sharing is typically provided to spacecraft operators
for spaceflight safety support. This level of service does not require a formal agreement or orbital
108
Per USC~2274 as delegated to CDRUSSTRATCOM by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Space Policy
(OUSD-P).
109
Currently in coordination for update.
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data request, however it doesn’t require that the operator have a registered account on SpaceTrack.org.
3. Advanced: The USG advanced level of SSA sharing is available for entities that have an SSA Sharing
Agreement with USSTRATCOM. These sharing agreements provide more information of a higher
quality, with an expedited approval process. As of the state of this report, USSTRATCOM currently
has SSA Sharing Agreements with 52 commercial, 13 governments, and 2 inter-governmental
entities.
Currently, information sharing occurs as a one-way data exchange (i.e. download) between the USG and
the non U.S.-entity. USSTRATCOM is evolving past this one-way data exchange capability towards twoway and multi-lateral data exchanges in order to leverage the capabilities and expertise of partners to
achieve and maintain SSA data. These two-way data exchanges will be implemented as a new series of
standardized data messages that can be uploaded via Space-Track.org. From Space-Track.org, partner SSA
data can be screened and then integrated into the space catalog; providing more accurate and timely SSA
data.
Private – Private/Private - USG Data Sharing
With the increased concern for orbital collisions, several private entities are or have established
commercial SSA services offerings. Similar to the DOD data sharing program, these commercial services
offer a combination of spacecraft registration, space catalog maintenance, and collision avoidance
products and services. In addition, some commercial provides provide expanded services such as radio
frequency interference (RFI) assessment not offered through the DOD Sharing program. A summary of
current and future commercial SSA providers is provided in Table 5 below.
Table 5. Current and Future Private SSA Providers
Entity
Description
Space Data
Association (SDA)/
Space Data Center
(SDC)
Industry association established to improve
operations for conjunction assessments, RF
interference and geo-location support, and
contact information for a given space object.
• Formed due to industry’s inability to
receive accurate and timely SSA
information from the JSpOC.
• SDA members share spacecraft operation
information (i.e. telemetry and position
data)
• SDC complies data to provide conjunction
assessment and location information.
AGI’s ComSpOC™ is a SSA facility that fuses
spacecraft-tracking measurements from a
continually growing global network of
commercial sensors. 110
• Leverages more than 28 optical sensors
and one radar site to track 5,000+ total
space objects.
Analytical
Graphics, Inc (AGI)
Commercial Space
Operations Center
(COMSPOC)
110
Products / Services
Fee
• Satellite Registration
• Conjunction
Assessment
• RFI Assessment
Membership
fee.
• High Definition
Ephemeris
• Resident space object
characterization
• Near real-time
maneuver
characterization
Subscriptionbased.
Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) Commercial Space Operations Center (COMSPOC). Comspoc.com. Accessed Oct 26,
2016.
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Entity
Description
•
DARPA’s Orbit
Outlook
G-4
GEO spacecraft primary focus
OrbitOutlook (O2) is a DARPA program that
aims to improve the SSN by adding more
data more often from more diverse sources,
by:
• Including new telescopes and radar from
diverse locations providing diverse data
types;
• Providing a central database for this
newly extended network of telescopes
and radar;
• And, creation of a validation process to
ensure the data is accurate.
O2 will engage civil, academic and
commercial entities in an effort to bring
more sensors online:
• SpaceView which seeks to provide
technically-minded amateur astronomers
with the opportunity to make a
difference in the task of space situational
awareness through modern, remotely
controlled telescopes.
• StellarView, seeks to make a similar
outreach as SpaceView to the academic
community.
Products / Services
• SpaceBook®- Provides
data including, status,
orbit mission and
owner information of
all tracked objects.
• O2 focuses on
development of
Computing and
Application stack layer
capabilities. This
could enhance current
Products and Services
in the community with
options to create
additional ones.
Fee
Not yet
defined.
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 21 November 2016
APPENDIX H
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Inherently Governmental Functions
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APPENDIX I
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APPENDIX J
NASA Study Contract Statement of Work
Statement of Work
Orbital Traffic Management Study
May 16, 2016
1. Purpose
The purpose of Orbital Traffic Management Study (OTMS) is to perform an independent assessment of
alternate frameworks for the management of space traffic and orbital activities in response to the
following statement contained in the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitive Act, 2015:
It is the sense of the Congress that an improved framework may be necessary for space
traffic management of United States Government assets and United States private sector assets
in outer space and orbital debris mitigation.
--U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, (Public
Law 114-90, Section 109)
In undertaking the tasks below, the contractor shall consult with U.S. government stakeholders engaged
in space traffic and orbital activities, including NASA, Federal Communications Commission, Department
of Transportation, Department of Commerce, Department of State and the Department of Defense.
2. Scope of Work / Study Approach
The study is composed of these eight tasks:
TASK 2.1: An assessment of current regulations, best practices, and industry standards that apply to
space traffic management and orbital debris mitigation.
TASK 2.2: An assessment of current statutory authorities granted to the Federal Communications
Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Commerce that apply to space
traffic management and orbital debris mitigation and how those agencies utilize and coordinate those
authorities.
TASK 2.3: A review of all space traffic management and orbital debris requirements under treaties and
other international agreements to which the United States is a signatory, and other nonbinding
international arrangements in which the United States participates, and the manner and extent to which
the Federal Government complies with those requirements and arrangements.
TASK 2.4: An assessment of existing Federal Government assets used to conduct space traffic
management and space situational awareness.
TASK 2.5: An assessment of the unique safety considerations needed for human space flight,
particularly the International Space Station.
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TASK 2.6: An assessment of the risk to space traffic management associated with smallsats and any
necessary Government coordination for their launch and utilization to avoid congestion of the orbital
environment and improve space situational awareness.
TASK 2.7: An assessment of existing private sector information sharing activities associated with space
situational awareness and space traffic management.
TASK 2.8: Recommendations related to the appropriate framework for the protection of the health,
safety, and welfare of the public and economic vitality of the space industry.
3. Milestones and Deliverables:
The contractor shall provide all deliverables/reports as specified below:
Deliverable
Quantity
Delivery Date
Kickoff Meeting
Monthly Status Reports w/
technical interchange
meetings as necessary.
Mid-Term Summary
Meeting
Mid-Term Report of Tasks
2.1 thru 2.7
1
6
Within 1 week of contract award
Due on the 24rd day of each month after
contract award
1
Due not later than September 7, 2016
1
Final Summary Meeting
Final Report (Draft)
Final Report
1
1
1
Due after completion of Tasks 2.1 thru 2.7,
but not later than September 7, 2016. Due
at least two days prior to Mid-Term
Summary Meeting.
Due not later than October 31, 2016
Due at Final Summary Meeting
Due not later than November 7, 2016
3.1
This contract shall be completed not later than November 14, 2016. A kickoff meeting shall be
conducted within 1 week of contract award. A mid-term summary meeting shall be conducted
to review Tasks 2.1 through 2.7. A final summary meeting to review completion of all tasks,
including a review of the draft Final Report, shall be conducted before the end the study.
3.2
The contractor shall provide monthly reports containing accomplishments, activities planned for
the next month, and any issues or assistance required to complete the work.
• Each monthly report shall be delivered electronically by the 24th day of each month.
• If requested, the contractor shall provide supplemental background information
produced by the contractor in support of the tasks of this SOW.
3.3
Mid-term report and a briefing shall be provided at the completion of the Tasks 2.1 through 2.7
two days prior to the Mid-Term Summary Meeting.
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3.4
The contractor shall review the results of Tasks 2.1-2.7 at the Mid-Term Summary Meeting. In
addition, the contractor will outline progress related to integrating the assessments of Tasks 2.12.7 into the recommendations of Task 2.8.
3.5
A draft Final Report shall be provided one week prior to the Final Summary Meeting. The Final
Report shall be provided at the end of the study’s period of performance.
•
3.6
Prior to the conclusion of this effort copies of all products (reports, analyses, etc.)
produced shall be provided with the final report.
NASA will help facilitate initial meetings between the contractor and various USG stakeholders.
4. Classified Information:
This contract will involve access to classified information, including TS/SCI material. However, the final
report will be an unclassified document and is expected to be of a predecisional nature and should be
protected from dissemination beyond the NASA customer. Following receipt of the final report, NASA
will submit it to Congress in accordance with P.L. 114-90, Sec. 109.
5. Government Furnished Equipment:
None.
6. Travel:
Non-local travel will be required to various USG stakeholders. At least 3 trips are anticipated, one each
to California, Texas, and Colorado. Local travel will be required to NASA Headquarters at the beginning
of the contract, at the midterm meeting, at the final presentation, and, as proposed, to accomplish the
statement of work, e.g., local travel may also be required to Goddard Space Flight Center, MD, and other
USG stakeholders in the DC area.
7. Period of Performance:
Award through November 14, 2016.
8. Place of Performance:
Contractor’s Facility
9. Contact Information:
The Contractor shall keep the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) and the Technical
Monitor (TM) informed of task status and progress by regular correspondence or meetings. The
contractor shall provide all deliverables/reports via e-mail to the Task Monitor and the COTR at the email address shown below.
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Technical Monitors:
Name: Ave Kludze
Phone: (202) 358-2098
Email: [email protected]
Name: Patrick Besha
Phone: (202) 358-2636
Email: [email protected]
Mailing address:
NASA Headquarters
Mail Code AB00
300 E Street SW
Washington DC 20546-0001
COTR:
Name: Michael Chatman
Phone/Fax Number: 202.358.0085
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Mailing address is:
NASA Headquarters
Mail Stop 4M20
300 E Street SW
Washington DC 20546-0001
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APPENDIX K
1.0
Approach and Plan
INTRODUCTION
SAIC is conducting the Orbital Traffic Management Study (OTMS) on behalf of NASA to perform an
independent assessment of alternate frameworks for the management of space traffic and orbital
activities to meet the requirements set out by Congress in the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitive
Act, 2015, which states it is the sense of the Congress that an improved framework may be necessary for
space traffic management of the United States Government assets and united States private sector assets
in outer space and orbital debris mitigation (U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act, Public
Law 114-90, Section 109).
The framework is a basic implementation plan for an OTM scheme guided by policy and enabled and
contextualized by technology and operations. A framework provides planning structures for
implementation of policy downward. But in the reverse, technology and operations can provide new
contexts to inform the creation of necessary policy. We explore not only policies and technologies in
existence, but those also we consider feasible for future evolution. From the feasible set of frameworks,
we must then apply objective mission success criteria to compare one framework to another.
The study is composed of eight tasks
•
An assessment of current regulations, best practices, and industry standards that apply to space
traffic management and orbital debris mitigation.
•
An assessment of current statutory authorities granted to the Federal Communications
Commission, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Commerce that apply
to space traffic management and orbital debris mitigation and how those agencies utilize and
coordinate those authorities.
•
A review of all space traffic management and orbital debris requirements under treaties and
other international agreements to which the United States is a signatory, and other nonbinding
international arrangements in which the United States participates, and the manner and extent
to which the Federal Government complies with those requirements and arrangements.
•
An assessment of existing Federal Government assets used to conduct space traffic
management and space situational awareness.
•
An assessment of the unique safety considerations needed for human space flight, particularly
the International Space Station.
•
An assessment of the risk to space traffic management associated with smallsats and any
necessary Government coordination for their launch and utilization to avoid congestion of the
orbital environment and improve space situational awareness.
•
An assessment of existing private sector information sharing activities associated with space
situational awareness and space traffic management.
•
Recommendations related to the appropriate framework for the protection of the health,
safety, and welfare of the public and economic vitality of the space industry.
The mission success criteria are the following:
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Objective
Considerations
I. Ensure and
Enhance Safety of
the Space Domain
 Protect workforce health (i.e., prevent death or injury of USG astronauts by
reducing the risk of Space Traffic Safety incidents involving crewed
spacecraft)
 Protect public health (i.e., prevent death or injury of space flight participants
by reducing the risk of Space Traffic Safety incidents involving crewed
spacecraft)
 Protect private and public orbital space assets by reducing the risk of Space
Traffic Safety incidents
 Ensure the long-term sustainability of the orbital space environment by
limiting the creation and effects of orbital debris caused by Space Traffic
Safety incidents
 Protect the public general welfare by reducing the risk of Space Traffic
Safety incidents that could result in loss of vital space-based information
services
II. Protect and
Enhance National
Security Space (NSS)
Interests
 Enable and enhance the objectives of the National Space Policy, National
Security Space Strategy, and other derived NSS policies, strategies, and plans
 Develop transparency and confidence-building measures to encourage
responsible actions in and the peaceful use of orbital space
III. Ensure Economic
Vitality of the Space
Domain and Space
Industrial Base
 Encourage, facilitate, and promote the uninterrupted and free flow of
commerce in orbital space
 Minimize engineering, operations, and sustainment cost burdens on orbital
space system and orbital space operators
 Limit restraints on the traditional space industrial base and new orbital
space startups and initiatives
 Maximize opportunities for timely delivery and return of orbital space
systems to and from orbit
2.0
IMPLEMENTATION PLAN
2.1
Step 1: Formulate
This first step immediately following the customer kick-off meeting is gathering the entire team to
formulate the study approach in detail and review mission success criteria, study implementation plans,
baseline OTM approach risks, and baseline framework solution options that will be the focus of the
subsequent phases. Based on inputs, we will improve these plans, identified risks, and the framework
tradespace.
2.2
Step 2: Research
The purpose of this step is to conduct a systematic investigation of a numerous resources to inform the
policy and technology and operations assessments and to understand past proposals and current opinions
for OTM frameworks. In a literature review, we will collect reference materials and place them
electronically into an online repository and physically into a library.
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Site visits and workshops will elicit stakeholders’ understanding of OTM policies and technologies and
operations relevant to their expertise and responsibilities. Site visits will begin in early July and will run
into August. The first and second workshop will be held at the end of July and the final workshop will occur
in the beginning of August at the 2016 Small Satellite Conference in Utah.
Site visits will focus on collecting stakeholder inputs on areas of policy and/or technology and operations
relevant to their responsibilities and areas of expertise. As appropriate, we will collect their preferences
for an OTM framework. At our site visits, we will conduct the stakeholder interviews with the aid of a
uniform survey prepared during the formulation phase. Dr. Brown and Mr. Long will conduct these
stakeholder meetings.
We also will use workshops to further gather input from multiple stakeholders in a group setting and
will focus on specific areas of policy or technology and operations.
2.3
Step 3. Synthesize
In this step, we integrate the data collected in the research phase. We place reference material compiled
into structures (e.g., taxonomies) and develop statistics and conclusions from stakeholder surveys. We
also summarize workshop observations. These assessments are created in the context of our Mission
Success criteria for an OTM framework. Specifically, we evaluate task risks related to the Mission Success
criteria and provide impacts to a beneficial framework. We also develop and provide risk mitigation steps,
including unique considerations of new approaches to applicable policy and technology and operations.
2.4
Step 4. Strategize
This study leads to the creation of the recommended OTM framework. This is the final step of the study,
but it is conducted concurrently during with the first three serial study steps as framework development
informs and is informed by all other study activities.
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APPENDIX L
Interview and Workshop List
Congress
Office
Personnel
Date
Pamela Whitney
Jonathan Charlton
Brian Corcoran
Michael Mineiro
Ryan Faith
Allen Li
Phillip Putter
October 12, 2016
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Office
Personnel
Date
Tactical Technology Office
Pam Melroy
July 19, 2016
Department of Defense (DOD)
Office
Personnel
Date
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Office of Space Policy
Josef Koller
July 6, 2016
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
Principal DOD Space Advisor
Steven Henry
Michael Draper
July 7, 2016
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Office of Space Policy
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
Principal DOD Space Advisor
Josef Koller
July 15, 2016
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Office of Space Policy
Douglas Loverro
Josef Koller
Elizabeth Phu
Winston Beauchamp
Steven Henry
Michael Draper
August 24, 2016
Personnel
Date
Richard Buenneke
Dana Johnson
Amber Charlesworth
July 6, 2016
House Committee
Science, Space, and Technology
Subcommittee on Space
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
Principal DOD Space Advisor
Department of State
Office
Office of Emerging Security Challenges
Bureau of Oceans and International
Environmental and Scientific Affairs
L-1
Steven Henry
Michael Draper
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 9 November 2016
Office of Emerging Security Challenges
Richard Buenneke
Dana Johnson
Robert McConnell
Ken Hodgkins
David Turner
Yousef Butt
Brian Israel
August 1, 2016
Personnel
Date
Office of Commercial Space Transportation
Stephen Earle
Jeff DeTroye
July 28, 2016
Office of Commercial Space Transportation
Stephen Earle
Jeff DeTroye
Glenn Rizner
August 2, 2016
Personnel
Date
International Bureau Satellite Division
Karl Kensinger
Stephen Duall
Jose Albuquerque
August 24, 2016
International Bureau Office of the
Bureau Chief
Troy Tanner
Office of Engineering and Technology,
Electromagnetic Compatibility Division
Walter Johnston
Bureau of Oceans and International
Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Federal Aviation Administration
Office
Federal Communications Commission
Office
Federally Funded Research and Development Center
Office
Personnel
Date
Aerospace Corporation
Barbara Braun
September 22, 2016
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lincoln Lab
Jay Donnelly
Daryl Easler
September 27, 2016
Aerospace Corporation
Glenn Peterson
William Ailor
November 2, 2016
Personnel
Date
Mark Brown
Michael Griffin
July 19, 2016
August 23, 2016
Industry
Office
Schafer Corporation
L-2
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 9 November 2016
Intelsat General
Mark Daniels
Myland Pride
August 10, 2016
Satellite Industry Association
Tom Stroup
Charity Weeden
August 25, 2016
Analytical Graphics, Inc.
Paul Welsh
Jim Cooper
September 16, 2016
ExoAnalytic Solutions
Clinton Clark
September 22, 2016
SpaceX
Mark Krebs
September 27, 2016
XL Catlin
Christopher Kunstadter
October 13, 2016
Boeing
Mark Skinner
October 13, 2016
Lockheed Martin
Travis Blake
October 25, 2016
OneWeb
Tim Maclay
Cameron Meek
October 28, 2016
Interagency Meeting June 22, 2016
Office
Personnel
Date
NASA Headquarters
Office of the Administrator
Patrick Besha
Ave Kludze
June 22, 2016
NASA Headquarters
Export Control and Interagency Liaison
Division
John Hall
NASA Headquarters
Launch Services
Anne Sweet
National Reconnaissance Office
NRO Representative
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Office of Space Policy
Josef Koller
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
Principal DOD Space Advisor
Steven Henry
Michael Draper
Federal Aviation Administration
Office of Commercial Space Transportation
Stephen Earle
Jeff DeTroye
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Civil and Commercial Space
Ben Roberts
L-3
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 9 November 2016
National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
National Environmental Satellite Data and
Information Services/ Office of Satellite and
Product Operations
Mark Mulholland
Federal Communications Commission
International Bureau Satellite Division
Karl Kensinger
Interagency Meeting October 13, 2016
Office
Personnel
Date
NASA Headquarters
Office of the Administrator
Patrick Besha
Ave Kludze
October 13, 2016
NASA Headquarters
Export Control and Interagency Liaison
Division
John Hall
NASA Headquarters
Launch Services
Anne Sweet
NASA Headquarters
Office of the General Counsel
Robin Frank
Goddard Space Flight Center
Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis
Lauri Newman
Marissa Herron
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Office of Space Policy
Josef Koller
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
Principal DOD Space Advisor
Steven Henry
Michael Draper
Federal Aviation Administration
Office of Commercial Space Transportation
Stephen Earle
Jeff DeTroye
Department of State
Office of Emerging Security Challenges
Richard Buenneke
Federal Communications Commission
International Bureau Satellite Division
Karl Kensinger
National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
National Environmental Satellite Data and
Information Services/ Office of Satellite and
Product Operations
Mark Mulholland
L-4
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 9 November 2016
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Office
Personnel
Date
NASA Headquarters
Office of the Administrator
NASA Headquarters
Export Control and Interagency Liaison
Division
NASA Headquarters
Launch Services
Goddard Space Flight Center
Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis
Patrick Besha
Ave Kludze
John Hall
May 31, 2016
Goddard Space Flight Center
Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis
Lauri Newman
July 29, 2016
Johnson Space Center
Flight Operations Directorate
Stephen Koerner
Edgar Rivera
William Howorth
Jeanne Lynch
September 1, 2016
Headquarters
Office of the Administrator
Patrick Besha
Ave Kludze
September 29, 2016
Langley Research Center
Office of the Chief Engineer
Ralph Roe
October 26, 2016
Ann Sweet
Lauri Newman
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Office
Personnel
National Environmental Satellite Data and
Information Services/ Office of Satellite
and Product Operations
Mark Mulholland
Gregg Parent
National Environmental Satellite Data and
Information Services/Commercial Remote
Sensing Regulatory Affairs
Alan Robinson
Date
September 14, 2016
National Reconnaissance Office
Office
Personnel
Date
Office of Policy and Strategy
NRO Representatives
July 29, 2016
Office of Policy and Strategy
Mission Operations and Flight Safety
National Reconnaissance Operations Center
NRO Representatives
NRO Representatives
NRO Representatives
July 26, 2016
L-5
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 9 November 2016
National Security Council
Office
Personnel
Date
Space Policy
BGen. Bill Liquori
September 22, 2016
Office of Management and Budget
Office
Personnel
Date
Science and Space Branch
Sam Black
July 1, 2016
Science and Space Branch
Force Structure and Investment Branch
Transportation Branch
Sam Black
Matt O’Kane
Andrea Petro
Ryan MacMaster
July 25, 2016
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Office
Personnel
Date
Civil and Commercial Space
National Security, Space, and Aviation
Ben Roberts
Fred Kennedy
July 25, 2016
Other Interest Groups
Office
Personnel
Date
Moribus Legal Group
James Dunstan
Jim Muncy
July 21, 2015
Providence Access
Andrew D’Uva
August 2, 2016
Secure World Foundation
Brian Weeden
August 23, 2015
Institute for Defense Analyses
Space and Technology Policy Institute
Bhavya Lal
September 30, 2016
SmallSat Workshop
Office
Personnel
Date
SmallSat Conference Workshop
SmallSat Community
August 8, 2016
Space Traffic Management Workshop
Office
Personnel
Date
Space Policy Institute
Scott Pace
August 17-18, 2016
MITRE Corporation
Martin Faga
Lockheed Martin
Kay Sears
L-6
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 9 November 2016
Reperi
Maureen Rhemann
University of Maryland
Theresa Hitchens
Georgetown Law School
David Koplow
Goddard Space Flight Center
Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis
Marissa Herron
NASA Headquarters
Office International and Interagency
Relations
Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr.
Department of State
Office of Emerging Security Challenges
Richard Buenneke
Robert McConnell
Department of State
Bureau of Oceans and International
Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Yousef Butt
Federal Aviation Administration
Office of Commercial Space Transportation
Stephen Earle
Jeff DeTroye
Office of the Secretary of the Air Force
Principal DOD Space Advisor
Michael Draper
Defense Advanced Research Projects
Agency
Todd Master
National Reconnaissance Office
NRO Representatives
United States Air Force
Office
Personnel
Date
Air Force Research Laboratory
Lawrence Robertson
August 1, 2016
Headquarters U.S. Air Force/Operations
Gen John Raymond
Col John Giles
August 25, 2016
14th AF/JSpOC/18th SPCC
Gen David Buck
Diana McKissock
Stacie Shurchay
LtCol Scott Putnam
September 9, 2016
Space Security and Defense Program
Andrew Cox
October 3, 2016
L-7
Orbital Traffic Management Study – Final Report to NASA HQ – 9 November 2016
University Affiliated Research Center
Office
Johns Hopkins University
Applied Physics Laboratory
L-8
Personnel
Date
Eric Klatt
August 5, 2016
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