Space debris tracking needs improvements, report states

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Abstract

With more and more space debris littering the skies above Earth, the U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) needs to keep up with demands to track the debris and prevent collisions with satellites by improving the U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) infrastructure, modernizing software, and increasing the ability to more easily incorporate new algorithms and sensor data into its system, according to a 6 September report by a U.S. National Research Council committee. “If there is a single message of this study, it is that the Air Force needs to encourage a change in culture to emphasize openness—in transparency of its algorithms, in the interaction of its people with the user community and the scientific community, and in its providing of a reasonable amount of sensor tracking data to the scientific community for testing algorithms,” according to the report, entitled Continuing Kepler's Quest: Assessing Air Force Command's Astrodynamics Standards. “The Air Force needs to position the JSpOC—and its overall space situational awareness system—to rapidly evaluate, adapt, and adopt evolving technologies to meet community needs proactively.”

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