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:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

    View
  • 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.

    View
  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

    View
  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View

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