US, Australia Come Together on Space Surveillance

The United States and Australia on Monday agreed to deepen cooperation in monitoring space by signing a space situational awareness partnership statement of principles during their bilateral ministerial meeting in Melbourne, Australia. “Australia and the United States shared a deep concern about the increasingly interdependent, congested, and contested nature of outer space and acknowledged that preventing behaviors that could result in mishaps, misperceptions, or mistrust was a high priority,” reads their joint communiqué. The SSA agreement “clearly does cover space debris and low and middle earth orbit space junk as well as satellites and so on,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates, during the joint press briefing held Monday with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and their Australian counterparts. He said discussions to hash out the details of this cooperation are expected to begin in January. (Joint press availability transcript) (Joint communiqué full text) (See also AFPS report by Donna Miles.)