www.spaceref.com : State Department: Implementing the National Space Policy: Opportunities and Challenges
...Source: Department of State
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Frank A. Rose
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Verification, Compliance, and Implementation
Remarks at the Fifth Annual National Space Forum
September 20, 2010
...As Ambassador Harrison outlined in his introductory remarks, we are here today and tomorrow to gain a better understanding of the new policy and of how the policy is being received by domestic and international audiences. Much of my time at the State Department is focused on the national security aspects of international space cooperation, particularly in working with our traditional space-faring allies and partners but also in exploring potential opportunities for cooperation with emerging space powers. As directed by the President, our goals include expanded international cooperation to strengthen stability in space and to help assure the use of space for all responsible parties.
In implementing the National Space Policy, State leads diplomatic efforts to ensure U.S. leadership at the United Nations and other space-related fora. State also coordinates U.S. Government efforts to reassure allies of U.S. commitments to collective self-defense and to identify areas for mutually beneficial cooperation. These efforts complement the Administration's efforts to augment U.S. capabilities by leveraging existing and planned space capabilities of allies and space partners.
Within that context, I would like to talk about four things today. First, I will briefly describe what we have been doing to implement the space policy since its release in late June. Second, I will discuss some challenges and opportunities we face in international cooperation and collaboration in space, and how we are tackling those challenges. Third, I will point to some of the continuing critical issues facing the United States and the international community as we expand our utilization of the space environment and work to strengthen stability in space. Finally, I'd like to challenge you in the audience to think about how we can work together across space sectors and interests to solve these difficult issues in the years ahead.
...Our first challenge is that of orbital congestion. As more nations and non-state organizations are using space for a wide range of activities, congestion in space is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge. There are now over 20,000 man-made objects in various Earth orbits - from operational satellites, to parts of rocket bodies, and to other pieces of debris resulting from about half a century of space launches. We are all well aware of the recent incidents of collisions and near-collisions between spacecraft and the incredible amount of long-lasting orbital debris they have generated. In addition to the direct economic impact of these collisions, this debris adds to the overall level of hazard in critical orbits.