US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) entered into an agreement on April 11, 2016 with the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA) to share space situational awareness (SSA) services and information at the 32nd Space Symposium.
The arrangement, which will enhance awareness within the space domain and increase the safety of spaceflight operations, was formalized in a memorandum of understanding that was signed by US Air Force Maj. Gen. Clinton E. Crosier, USSTRATCOM director of plans and policy, and His Excellency, Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi, the UAESA chairman.
“We must be able to maintain situational awareness, act where necessary, and as stated in the 2010 Space Policy, preserve the space environment,” said US Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, USSTRATCOM commander. “Recognizing an evolving and diverse space environment — and a need to preserve access in space — it is imperative we work with and leverage our key allies and partners like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to increase situational awareness in space.”
“We are proud to sign this important agreement that further solidifies the bilateral UAE and US space relationship and will contribute to the protection of important assets of both countries in orbit,” said Chairman Al Romaithi.
The UAE joins 10 nations – the United Kingdom, the Republic of Korea, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, Israel, Spain, Germany and Australia – two intergovernmental organizations, the European Space Agency and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, and over 50 commercial satellite owner/operator/launchers already participating in SSA data-sharing agreements with USSTRATCOM.
"This is a really important initiative between our two governments," said Crosier. "Not only does it represent a joint commitment to space safety and security, but it also represents yet another mission area in which the US and UAE are forging an ever stronger partnership."
SSA data-sharing agreements enhance multinational space cooperation and streamline the process for USSTRATCOM partners to request specific information gathered by USSTRATCOM’s Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The information is crucial for launch support, satellite maneuver planning, support for on-orbit anomalies, electromagnetic interference reporting and investigation, satellite decommissioning activities and on-orbit conjunction assessments.
“Every action we collectively take in space today will help us peacefully assure the right to access space for years to come,” said Haney. “This sharing paradigm fosters the responsible use of space by promoting transparency, enhancing spaceflight safety, and enabling exchange-focused relationships.”
One of nine DoD unified combatant commands, USSTRATCOM has global strategic missions, assigned through the Unified Command Plan, which include strategic deterrence; space operations; cyberspace operations; joint electronic warfare; global strike; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; combating weapons of mass destruction; and analysis and targeting.