Space Surveillance Network:

New Way Proposed To Support Commercial and Foreign Entities

GAO-02-403R: Published: Jun 7, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 7, 2002.

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Government, commercial, and foreign entities rely almost exclusively on information generated by the United States space surveillance network to reduce the risk of space collisions when launching and operating their respective space missions. The network is maintained and operated by the Air Force Space Command; surveillance data is processed and an unclassified portion is sent to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and made available to users. Currently, the Air Force Space Command is proposing a pilot study to replace the current NASA arrangement with one using a Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC). The study would test the FFRDC's ability to support commercial and foreign entities with space surveillance information and to ensure there is a sufficient market for the data. If the study is approved by the Air Force and Department of Defense, and if authorizing legislation is enacted that includes providing space surveillance support to foreign and commercial entities as part of DOD's mission, the study will begin in about 1 year.

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