recommended reading

Pentagon Wants Help Tracking Space Debris

Defense Department file photo

If America wants to retain its space dominance, it will have to invest in tracking the debris that has made Earth's orbit increasingly hard to navigate, military officials told a Senate panel Wednesday.

"This is a very serious problem, and I've seen nothing yet that will be technically viable for active debris removal," said Gen. William Shelton, who heads the Air Force Space Command. As a result, "we need better capability to track," he told the Senate Armed Service's Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.

Shelton touted the Space Fence, a radar system designed to spot tiny pieces of debris and act as a first-warning system for collisions and other outer-space events. Sequestration shut down the current Space Fence, but the Air Force hopes to have a new and improved radar deployed in the Marshall Islands by 2018.

"Congestion and debris in space is a real issue," added Douglas Loverro, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for space policy. "Programs like the Air Force's Space Fence are aimed at reducing that risk."

In addition, Shelton talked up debris-tracking satellites that will help give a clearer picture of low-Earth orbit. Along with better tracking, continued use of space will depend on countries being more responsible about leaving debris, Shelton said, describing a nightmare scenario in which "debris begets debris."

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.