NASA needs to shift its strategy from preventing future space debris to leading a global effort to actively cleaning up the debris that is already in Earth orbit, according to a new report from the space agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).
By 2nd Lt. Kristen Shimkus U.S. Space Force Public Affairs
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — United States Space Force officials formally declared initial operational capability and operational acceptance of the Space Fence radar system, located on Kwajalein Island in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, March 27, 2020.
Space Fence provides significantly improved space surveillance capabilities to detect and track orbiting objects such as commercial and military satellites, depleted rocket boosters and space debris in low, medium, and geosynchronous Earth orbit regimes.
As space has become a war-fighting domain, the Defense Department (DOD) faces challenges in assessing how its satellites can survive threats against them, erecting a Space Fence to better track satellites and debris in Earth orbit, and upgrading the Global Positioning System (GPS), according to a new report from the director of Operational Test and Evaluation (DOT&E).
“The DOD intends to invest at least $100 billion in space systems over the next decade, and we are not alone,” the report stated. “We therefore must thoroughly understand how our systems will perform in space, particularly when facing manmade threats,” Robert F. Behler wrote in the 2019 annual report.
“Yet, the DOD currently has no real means to assess adequately the operational effectiveness, suitability, and survivability of space-based systems in a representative environment,” he added. (Download full report)