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Satellite traffic control system urged

Weeden said the collision produced an enormous amount of orbiting debris that is threatening spacecraft launched by several nations.
by Staff Writers
Vienna (UPI) Feb 18, 2009
Last week's collision of U.S. and Russian satellites has prompted the call for creation of an International Civil Space Situational Awareness system.

Brian Weeden, a consultant for the Secure World Foundation in Superior, Colo., proposed the concept Tuesday in Vienna during a meeting of a subcommittee of the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Weeden said the collision produced an enormous amount of orbiting debris that is threatening spacecraft launched by several nations.

"The owner or operator of a particular satellite usually has excellent knowledge about the position of that satellite in space, but little to no information about the locations of other objects around them," he told the subcommittee, noting the concept has been a part of military space activities for years, but there's also a need for such a system in the civil world.

"Such a network is very expensive to create and maintain, and only the United States has thus far developed one," Weeden said. "And while the United States' space surveillance network does provide the most complete SSA data in the world, it still has significant limitations due to the lack of coverage in areas where the United States does not have a presence."

He said such an informational system "could not only mitigate future collisions, but enhance cooperation, transparency and future space governance issues."

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