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SAIC Report: Civilian Agency Should Assume Space Traffic Mgmt Work

A report carried out by Science Applications International Corp. recommends the U.S. government transfer space traffic management oversight responsibilities to a civilian agency, Space News reported Wednesday.

Jeff Foust writes SAIC prepared the “Orbital Traffic Management Study” on behalf of NASA in line with a provision of the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act of 2015.

The study evaluated five frameworks for space traffic management of non-military spacecraft, including the current system where the U.S. Air Force issues warnings of potential collisions to satellite operators.

SAIC identified an alternative framework called “Civil-Based Space Traffic Safety Monitoring and Facilitation” as the “quickest and most affordable way” to transfer space traffic management responsibility to a civilian agency, Foust reported.

Under that scenario, the civilian agency would facilitate voluntary information sharing among satellite operators and use Defense Department resources to track objects and provide alerts on potential collisions.

The report stated the civilian agency could take on a regulatory role over time.

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