Friday, April 21, 2017

SpaceNews This Week | Experts call for legislation and improved tracking to deal with orbital debris

April 21, 2017
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Experts call for legislation and improved tracking to deal with orbital debris

Tereza Pultarova — As the amount of debris in low Earth orbit continues to increase, experts at a recent conference called for both improved efforts to track debris as well as national legislation to mitigate that growth. 

Delegates at the Seventh European Conference on Space Debris, held at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, from April 18 to 21, warned that without improved measures, a long-feared cascade of debris that renders low Earth orbit useless could occur.

Luxembourg, serious about mining asteroids, prospects for Silicon Valley partners

Debra Werner — Few events at the NASA Ames Research Center draw the crowd that greeted Luxembourg's royal delegation April 12. The Grand Duchy's prince, princess and deputy prime minister met with NASA officials, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors to discuss Luxembourg's campaign to harvest valuable materials from asteroids, moons or planets.

The Washington Space Business Roundtable's May luncheon features a panel of experts, including:
  • Chirag Parikh (NGA)
  • John Hill (OSD)
  • Lindsay Millard (DARPA)
  • Col. Sidney S. Conner (USAF)
  • Todd Harrison (CSIS)

Trump signs commercial satellite weather bill

Jeff Foust — U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law this week a weather bill that includes provisions formally authorizing ongoing commercial satellite weather data projects and a study of future weather satellite needs.

Report: Canada should work with U.S. to protect satellites as "critical infrastructure"

David Pugliese — Canada's space assets must be declared as part of the nation's critical infrastructure and the country should work with the U.S. to protect those systems from threats, a new report from a Canadian Senate committee recommends.

Flat NASA budgets pose risk to researchers

Jeff Foust  The prospect of extended flat budgets for NASA has some scientists concerned that research funds could be raided to support other programs. In a presentation April 19 to a microgravity research colloquium at the National Academies here, Gale Allen, acting chief scientist, said she had been warned at a recent agency meeting not to expect even increases to keep pace with inflation for the next five years.

Buck calls for more space intelligence positions

Phillip Swarts — The Air Force needs more people for space intelligence, at the very least similar to levels it has in other domains, Lt. Gen. David Buck said. "Our space intel capability has atrophied, so we need to hit the gym and develop some muscle mass," Buck said at a breakfast hosted by the Air Force Association's Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies.
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