Who makes the guidelines for space operations across national borders? Should there be a single international standard? A recent post on the Department of Defense news website offers an answer — reporting that the current acting assistant secretary of defense, John D. Hill, wrote concerning the benefits of common guidelines for aerospace in both the commercial and defense contexts.
The case for set guidelines
According to Hill, set guidelines would help indicate and warn about potential hostile intentions and acts. He also said that such parameters would provide “a safer, more sustainable, more stable, and more predictable space operating environment for all space operators.” Hill further explained that “as space activities worldwide become more prolific and more varied, voluntary non-binding international norms, standards and guidelines of responsible behavior can benefit U.S. national security and foster a conducive environment for growing global space activities.”
Transparency offers from the DOD
One method outlined in the article that could be implemented if set guidelines are approved pertains to a U.S.-run website called Space-Track (space-track.org) that is operated by the DOD. A colleague of Hill’s — Lt. Gen. Stephen Whiting of Space Operations Command — gave more details about this site, stating “Given our imperative to help keep the domain safe, our command… has for many years, with the support of Congress, been providing orbital conjunction assessments to any space owner and operator around the globe, while also making available space-track.org to foster openness and transparency in the tracking of tens of thousands of objects on orbit.” Space-Track makes space situational awareness services and info available to anyone with a login.
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