The U.S. Department of Defense and the South Korea Defense Ministry will share space situational awareness (SSA) data under a memorandum of understanding signed in September.
The accord provides South Korea’s Air Force with higher-quality, more timely space information tailored for specific purposes in exchange for satellite-position and radio-frequency information that it will provide to the U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM), the Defense Department agency responsible for space situational awareness.
Douglas L. Loverro, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy, and Major General Chang Kyeong Seok, the South Korean Defense Ministry’s Director-General of Policy Planning, signed the memorandum on September 2 on the sidelines of the Space Cooperation Working Group meeting.
“Cooperating with international partners to develop coalition approaches to space is a priority for the Department of Defense,” DAS Loverro said, according to a posting on the Pentagon’s website.
The United States has long worked with other nations and international organizations for the responsible and peaceful use of outer space.
The increasingly congested space environment is of growing concern for all nations, U.S. officials have said. The growing volume of space debris dramatically increases the threat of a collision.
As a result, the United States collaborates with foreign partners, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations to improve space situational awareness — specifically, to improve the shared ability to rapidly detect, warn of, characterize and attribute man-made disturbances to space systems.
The United States is taking action in a variety of ways to implement the U.S. National Space Policy’s guidance to enhance SSA capabilities through international cooperation.
South Korea joins five nations (Australia, Japan, Canada, Italy, and France) and many organizations already participating in agreements to share SSA data with the U.S. Department of Defense.
By signing the memorandum, Chang said, the South Korean Defense Ministry, the U.S. Department of Defense, and others in the international community are working together for the peaceful use of space, the Pentagon said.
“This opportunity will strengthen the [U.S.-South Korean alliance] through increasing the level of space cooperation between both nations’ armed forces. These space situational awareness data sharing agreements allow us to expand partnerships and enable information sharing in the increasingly congested, contested and competitive space environment,” said Navy Admiral Cecil D. Haney, STRATCOM’s Commander.
“These agreements ultimately protect our capabilities by enhancing spaceflight safety and preventing potentially catastrophic orbital collisions.”