The Need for a Global Space-Traffic-Control Service: An Opportunity for US Leadership
Air War College Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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Losing a satellite to an accidental on-orbit collision is no longer hypothetical, but real and increasingly likely. As a result, the need for a global space-traffic-control service must be addressed by the space-faring nations of the world, especially the United States. The fiscal and national security ramifications are too significant to ignore. The replacement cost of a satellite, perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars, is the most obvious impact. But, this may be the most trivial consideration. The greatest concern is the potential catastrophic loss of vital communications, navigation, weather, and other services we depend on for daily global commerce and defense. This paper explains the problem, examines some possible paths to address the problem, and recommends actions.