Safe Passage for All

Air Force Space Command’s chief wish out of the voluntary space code of conduct agreement that the United States is pursuing is “transparency,” Gen. William Shelton, AFSPC commander, told reporters in Washington, D.C., last week. With “73 trillion cubic miles” of space to monitor, Shelton said he needs other countries to alert him of when they plan to launch, maneuver or “create debris” in orbit. The United States is simply seeking “safe passage” for all in space, said Shelton. When the new Space Fence system is in place in a few years, the United States will be able to track items as small as a baseball, versus today’s capability to see basketball-sized objects, he said. Smaller stuff is “potentially lethal,” though, and it’s just lucky that there haven’t been more collisions, he said during the March 22 roundtable.