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Australia reaffirms space co-operation initiative

Australia reaffirms space co-operation initiative

Max Blenkin

Australia has confirmed its commitment to working with allies and friendly nations in space at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado.

In a joint statement released in the US overnight, seven nations that attended a meeting in Colorado said military co-operation concerning the space domain was vital to their countries’ interests.

The meeting was held at Peterson Air Force Base, home of the headquarters of US Air Force Space Command, and coincided with the 35th Space Symposium.

Meeting participants discussing the future of what’s called the Combined Space Operations (CSpO) initiative. That initiative was launched in 2014, initially just with the US, UK, Canada and Australia. It now also includes New Zealand, France and Germany.

The initial agreement proposed co-operation on satellite orbits to reduce risk of collision, accuracy of GPS signals, prevention of interference with satellite communications and space weather such as geomagnetic storms caused by solar particles that can disrupt communications and power grids.

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Representatives of the seven nations who attended the latest meeting said they unequivocally recognised the strategic importance of the space domain to their economies, technology, national security and defence.

“To that end, we collectively share the view that military co-operation concerning the space domain is vital to our countries’ interests,” their joint statement said.

 

“Our respective nations are actively working together to address threats and shared interests in space and to preserve access to the space domain for the future of humankind.

“We are actively co-ordinating to further our national interests through the Combined Space Operations initiative. In part, CSpO collaboration includes enhanced Space Situational Awareness and data sharing among all partner nations to support space activities.”

To further enhance space collaboration, the meeting discussed operational concepts, personnel needs and infrastructure requirements to enhance multinational command and control of space forces in and through the CSpO Centre and the other national Space Operations Centres.

“We recognise tangible advances in space co-operation and capabilities have been achieved through the CSpO initiative; and we are dedicated to identifying future capabilities to support our countries’ common interests in and through space,” the statement said.

The RAAF’s Air Power Development Centre noted in 2016 that the memorandums of understanding for the CSpO initiative sought to enhance the resilience of space operations and share the burden of conducting them.

“The CSpO partners also collectively promote the responsible use of space through co-ordinated diplomacy. Yet there is no certainty that warfare in space will be avoided and so Australia is seeking to increase the resilience of its space capabilities,” it said.

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