Vandenberg to Launch Civil Space Traffic Pilot Program

Colorado Springs, Colo.—The Air Force will start a pilot program at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., to explore the establishment of a civil authority for monitoring space traffic, two of the service’s top space commanders said at the 33rd Space Symposium here on April 6. The initial effort will involve “a couple people coming to Vandenberg to get a feel for what that mission is about,” said Lt. Gen. David Buck, commander of the 14th Air Force and the Joint Functional Component Command for Space. The effort “will kick off this summer,” Buck said. “We think there is a role for a civil agency to perform,” he added, by providing unclassified data relating to the movement of space assets and space debris to civil customers in order to protect their commercial satellites. Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, agrees. “I don’t think [Lt. Gen. Buck] has to be the person who pulls out the rolodex and calls company X that says, ‘Hey, you might hit a piece of debris,’” he said. “Somebody else could do that and we could focus our military manpower on other things.”