Southern Launch is the first Australian commercial launch provider to sign a Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Sharing Agreement with the United States Space Command (USSPACECOM).
Under the arrangement, Southern Launch will notify the United States Space Command ahead of launches to identify launch windows that ensure the trajectory of launch vehicles avoids space objects already in orbit.
Southern Launch CEO Lloyd Damp explains why this landmark agreement for commercial space activities in Australia is so important.
‘Southern Launch continues to set the standard in Australia for safe, sustainable commercial space launches. Our agreement with the United States Space Command further strengthens the commitment we have to Australia being a responsible user of space.’
Richard Price, Defence SA and South Australian Space Industry Centre Chief Executive says ‘South Australia is committed to supporting Australia’s national space strategy, with space situational awareness and debris monitoring one of seven national civil space priorities. Collisions in space pose a risk to both assets and life and this agreement is an excellent initiative to ensure launches undertaken in South Australia are done using a safe and considered approach.’
Space Situational Awareness is the monitoring and tracking of orbiting space-based objects such as satellites and other hardware on orbit using ground-based radar and optical stations. The United States Space Command tracks over 47,000 objects orbiting Earth in space.
By harnessing the capability of the United States Space Command’s Space Situational Awareness and Launch Collision Avoidance systems, the sharing agreement allows Southern Launch to further ensure the enduring safety of space launches.
The signing of the agreement is just the first step in an ongoing relationship between the United States Space Command and Southern Launch. Looking ahead, the two will work together on de-orbit, re-entry and end-of-life deorbit support to assist in reducing the amount of space debris orbiting Earth.