July 26, 2021

The Department of Commerce is developing space traffic management strategies while anticipating financial support

The switch of the space traffic management duties from Space Force to an agency in the Department of Commerce is proceeding while Congress is working on the finances and leadership elections. Mark Daley of the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce stated that the Department of Defense and the agency in question have come to terms over the procession of these duties.

Daley explained in a webinar held last week that they have developed strategies after consulting with the Department of Defense and NASA. These strategies will help the agency actualize the duties that have come to its table. The two bodies have discussed the succession plans of these duties by the agencies while waiting for Congress to complete the paperwork on funding and authentication. Daley explained that they hope to continue with the programs that DoD implemented and worked efficiently and bring in new strategies to replenish where the agency did not successfully deliver.

Daley revealed that the Office of Space Commerce would be reviewing the strategies to optimize their success on implementation at a set day. He added that they are yet to receive any funding due to the legal delays outlined by Congress. The Department of Commerce intends to create an online database to communicate with satellite operators and other stakeholders with payloads in space to resolve traffic in space.

Additionally, instead of the Space Surveillance Network alone providing space traffic data, the other satellite operators will have a platform to outline impending space traffic to mitigate the problem in time. The agency officials stated that this is the best approach to acquire more data from which they can implement the strategies they have outlined and receive plausible suggestions to this problem.

The head of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. Roger Wicker, advanced a bill that authorizes the handing over space traffic management duties to the Commerce Department. However, financial support is yet to be ascertained. The bill authorizes Commerce to procure data from US agencies, foreign space operators, and commercial companies to mitigate the problem and relay a lasting solution. The challenge with this strategy is the security of the system that will be receiving the data. Experts think that malicious companies will utilize this provision to hack the databases and deploy viruses to harm the program’s efficiency.

To sum up, Daley explained that they are working on a plausible system to vet the data they receive before feeding it to the core systems. Nevertheless, this program’s success is reliant on the budgetary allocation that Congress deems fit to serve the responsibilities.