Following the recent potential conjunction event between the Starlink and ESA satellites, the Space Data Association has urged all space operators to improve operational data sharing and communication to enable effective space situational awareness and maintain the integrity of all orbital regimes.
Raising concerns about the event and advising caution, Mark Dickinson, Chairman of the Space Data Association, commented: “As space becomes ever more crowded, with many more satellites planned to be put into orbit in the next few years, this event shows the need for operators to share accurate operational data, provide operational interfaces to allow conjunction events to managed and abide by the international standard regarding debris mitigation.”
Dickinson continued: “Managing potential conjunction events are part of operating in space; it is about how these events are managed e.g. understanding of the data involved to allow an accurate risk assessment to be made and working with fellow operators to take coordinated action.”
The Space Data Association Limited (SDA) is a non-profit international association of satellite operators that supports the controlled, reliable and efficient sharing of data critical to the safety and integrity of the space environment and the RF spectrum. It maintains the Space Data Center, a database of high-accuracy orbital information, which is operated by Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI) of Exton, PA. Established in the Isle of Man the SDA is open to all satellite operators and other participants. Its membership comprises many of the world’s major satellite communications companies.