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Public Policy and Government Affairs

Space Situational Awareness

The term Space Situational Awareness (SSA) refers to the ability to view, understand and predict the physical location of natural and manmade objects in orbit around the Earth, with the objective of avoiding collisions.

SSA has become a prominent concern for both military and commercial systems, largely due to increasing military reliance on a range of space assets. Anti-satellite (ASAT) testing by China in 2007 and the 2009 collision of a non-operational Russian satellite with an operational Iridium satellite also raised concerns.

The U.S. military is increasing its ability to predict and avoid collisions with space debris, including the ability for real-time surveillance and collision analysis on a limited basis. In addition, commercial operators established the Space Data Association (SDA) to provide satellite operators with a way to share controlled, reliable and efficient data for increased safety of satellite operations.

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