The Role Of Sustainable Space-Based Systems In Combined Space Operations

On February 22, 2022, the Defense Department announced that the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom signed a document calling for greater cooperation in order to prevent future conflicts in space. This document, aptly named Combined Space Operations (CSpO) Vision 2031, states that the seven nations will “…generate and improve cooperation, coordination, and interoperability opportunities to sustain freedom of action in space, optimize resources, enhance mission assurance and resilience, and prevent conflict.”

While CSpO was initially born out of a wargame, it goes much beyond just a command center for space. Ultimately, CSpO is an initiative aimed at addressing “…the overarching need to encourage responsible use of space, recognizing challenges to space sustainability, threats presented by technological advances, and the increasingly comprehensive and aggressive counterspace programs of other nation states.” With this vision, the CSpO will act as guiding principles for the wide frontier of space in the hopes of making it a safe, sustainable place for all.

Why CSpO Came About

CSpO is a big deal because, for over 50 years, the only treaty that was regulating space behavior was the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. This treaty forbids placing nuclear weapons aboard spacecraft and bars nations from declaring moons and planets as sovereign territory. And while it may have worked well in 1967, space exploration and technology have grown in leaps and bounds, making the topic of space safety of the utmost importance. Point and case, Russia’s anti-satellite missile test in November, which destroyed one of its own satellites and created a field of at least 1,500 pieces of space debris – each one a potential threat to other missions. This was just one instance of many that told officials larger measures were needed to protect space missions and uphold international law while providing a responsible and sustainable use of space.

How Sustainable Space-Based Systems Will Help

Finalizing the CSpO statement comes after years of work by U.S. Space Command to build closer ties with allies, including Vandenberg Space Force Base’s Combined Space Operations Center in California which gathers data and intelligence on debris and spacecraft in orbit. This partnership will prove helpful as CSpO participants pursue space activities that “…minimize the creation of long-lived space debris.” In an effort to meet this ask, Motiv is developing advanced technology for satellites and spacecraft.

OSAM-1 (On-Orbit Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing 1) is the first-ever on-orbit servicing, assembly, and manufacturing mission. Powered by Motiv’s state-of-the-art motor controller technology, OSAM-1 is basically an in-space life-extender for satellites with the ability to locate and rehabilitate government-owned satellites — even satellites that were never built or intended to be serviced in space — and finds ways to service them, even while still in orbit.

Motiv’s OSAM-2 is a technology demonstration mission developed to show how 3D printing can be used to build, assemble and deploy complex structures in space. As a technology demonstration, OSAM-2 is designed to show what’s possible with additive manufacturing in space, including on-orbit construction of more complex devices like space telescopes and communications antennae, all of which could help bring satellites up to date without adding more spacecraft into the galaxy.

As CSpO recognizes, the world has become more reliant on space-based systems and the activities in space can have consequences far beyond just the stars. Sustainable space-based systems like Motiv’s will help CSpO be even more successful in its pursuit of keeping space safe and open for all. And as the sharing of information and intelligence with allies continues to grow, so will the technology that will help it. To learn how Motiv can help your mission succeed, contact us today.

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