Israel Defense Ministry Space Administration and the US Strategic Command (USSTATCOM) have signed a new cooperation arrangement to prevent satellites and other objects colliding in space. Under the terms of the agreement, known as the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) data-sharing agreement, the two countries will have an agreed coordination mechanism and arrangements that will ensure safety in spaceflight operations.
The US has similar agreements with other nations including Germany, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, France, Canada, Italy, Japan and Australia, and two international organizations, the European Space Agency and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. USSTRATCOM has signed such agreements with 49 commercial entities in 18 countries.
Ministry of Defense Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure (MAFAT) head Brig. Gen. (Res) Amnon Harari said that in the event that the US identifies a potential collision between satellites or "space refuse," they will provide a warning on the matter to the country operating the craft.
Harari told "Globes" that the US will give Israel about 96 hours warning of any possible collisions. He said, "This will allow us to divert the satellite and save it. In space there are about 1,200 satellites operating and 5,000 satellites that are no longer operating and are in effect space garbage."
Israel's Defense Ministry stressed that the agreement was of major importance due to the growing traffic of space craft. Israel operates several surveillance satellites (for military use) hundreds of kilometers out in space as well as communications satellites at dozens of kilometers in space.
Harari said, "Over the years, space has become more and more crowded and this requires monitoring arrangements and cooperation with other countries. Collisions between two different satellites could also harm other satellites and make continued space operations difficult. The new agreement places Israel on par with other countries that see themselves partners in concern for stability in the world and global security and will contribute to Israel's national defense.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on August 18, 2015
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