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New AFSPC Website Provides Worldwide Space Surveillance Support

by Capt. Angie Blair for Air Force Print News
Peterson AFB CO (SPX) Jan 20, 2005
Air Force Space Command began a pilot program Jan. 3 designed to provide space surveillance support to Commercial and Foreign Entities. Public Law 108-136, transferred this space surveillance support responsibility from NASA to AFSPC on Nov. 24, 2003.

"The primary objective of the pilot program is to develop processes and tools to deliver timely, accurate, state-of-the-art space surveillance services to commercial and foreign customers," said Lt. Col. David Maloney, AFSPC chief of space situational awareness.

This service ensures mission success for commercial and foreign space operators who often rely on the United States' space surveillance support to mitigate hazards facing their space assets, according to Colonel Maloney.

"To that end, they request space object orbital data, support in predicting potential conjunctions (close approaches between satellites) for on-orbit and launch operations, satellite anomaly resolution support and end-of-life support."

As the worldwide leader in space surveillance, the United States is in the best position to provide that support, said Colonel Maloney.

The CFE Pilot Program is being implemented in three phases. The first two phases are dedicated to replacing the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Orbital Information Group website with the CFE Space-Track website.

The CFE Space-Track website will distribute Two-Line Elements, satellite catalog messages, satellite decay messages, project TIP messages, and most of the miscellaneous messages currently offered by the NASA OIG website. AFSPC will continue to provide this data at no cost.

As part of the CFE Pilot Program, the Aerospace Corporation will operate the CFE Support Office that will interface with the commercial and foreign entities on behalf of AFSPC. The CFE Support Office is responsible for developing and maintaining the Space-Track website.

"We've been working very closely with NASA to ensure a smooth transition for existing customers to transfer their OIG accounts to the Space Track website," said Colonel Maloney. "Our goal is to provide uninterrupted service to more than 1,100 customers in 43 countries worldwide by implementing a 90-day dual operations period between the two websites."

This 90-day transition period allows current OIG users to activate their Space Track website accounts, which includes agreeing to terms of the CFE user's agreement - specifically agreeing not to transfer any data or other information received or services provided to any third party without the prior written permission from the Department of Defense.

The transition period allows OIG users to become familiar with the new website's design and functionality.

The main differences between the websites are the menus and report options, according to Colonel Maloney.

After a 90-day transition period NASA will terminate their OIG website operations.

The third phase of the CFE Pilot program is dedicated to advanced services. Proposed advanced services include, launch support (pre-launch safety screenings and/or early orbit determination), conjunction assessment (including screening for planned maneuvers), end-of­life/reentry support (includes reentry support and planned de-orbit operations), anomaly resolution support (includes attitude determination and spacecraft configuration) and performing emergency services (significant mission degradation or failure for either the requester's asset or U.S. government assets, endangerment of human life or degradation of U.S. national security is at stake).

"The advanced services are expected to be provided for a fee," according to Colonel Maloney.

"The fees will be used to reimburse the Department of Defense for the costs for providing advanced services. The details and fees are still to be determined.

Related Links
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US Air Force Launches New Space Power Lab
Colorado Springs CO (SPX) Jan 20, 2005
The National Security Space Institute opened a state-of-the-art modeling and simulation facility that will help space professionals gain the knowledge and skills necessary integrate space-based capabilities into joint theater planning and operations.

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