Space Traffic Cops

Colorado Springs, Colo. The head of Air Force Space Command would prefer to have airmen who are doing collision avoidance and orbital analysis focus on other missions, but the military must continue to operate the network for “space control,” AFSPC boss Gen. John Hyten said. The FAA and Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) both recently proposed moving space traffic management tracking from the Air Force to the Federal Aviation Administration, and Hyten said he is “good with” providing data to the FAA and having them “do the math” on collision avoidance. But, he said, the commercial sector will “never have a capability as good as the space fence,” which cost $914 million and will increase the number of objects USAF tracks in space by tenfold. So, Hyten said, there are some details to work through with the FAA to make sure it’s all done right, but “the vision is correct: We shouldn’t be doing flight safety for everybody in the world.”