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News | Oct. 2, 2019

USSPACECOM hosts 6th space experiment with 16 international partners

By U.S. Space Command Public Affairs

The sixth iteration of Global Sentinel 2019 brought 16 nations together at the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation in Suffolk, Virginia, Sept. 23-27. U.S. Space Command led the annual international space experiment designed to promote spaceflight safety, international cooperation and data sharing.

GS19 provided an opportunity for 10 participating partner nations – Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and U.S. – to develop and implement processes, collaborate on space surveillance and spaceflight safety, broaden mutual understanding, and enhance space cooperation.

The collaborative relationships built between partner nations during GS events have proven beneficial and spurred interest in participation from additional nations. Representatives from Brazil, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania and Thailand attended in an “observer” status this year.

GS19 helped participants establish or refine tactics, techniques and procedures for combined space surveillance operations. Major Rafael Gonzalez Camara from Spain’s Space Surveillance Operations Center deemed the event a success.

“This year Spain was a full participant in GS19. It was an opportunity to network, see state-of-the-art technology and to share training, tactics and procedures with neighbors and space-leading nations,” he said. “GS19 [helped] us meet our needs as we [worked] our mission.”

During the week, each participating nation maintained a Space Operations Center to command and control their space situational awareness. The specific objective of this year’s campaign was to conduct and evaluate real-world field experiments. GS19 also provided a modeling and simulation demonstration that highlighted opportunities for participants to observe events of interest, enhancing their space domain awareness and ability to identify, characterize and track threats on orbit.

Rear Adm. Marcus A. Hitchcock, USN, USPACECOM Plans and Policy Director, spoke to making progress over recent years, and emphasized the need to keep the momentum going.

“Global Sentinel is foundational to spaceflight safety and conducting safe combined space operations, and it continues to expand as emerging partners want to add to the effort,” he stated. “This is a big year for Global Sentinel with participation expanding from 10 to 16 nations.”

Colonel Olivier Fleury, French Liaison Officer for Space, USSPACECOM Joint Plans Multinational Space Collaboration Office, said, “GS19 is about awareness in the space environment – identifying and reducing risks. The purpose is to recognize tools and data-sharing, compelling us to agree on clear goals.”

Fleury continued, “We came up with clear objectives that are beneficial. We identified tangible goals, and we will achieve them—interoperability to ensure space flight safety. In the meantime, France is fully committed to protect its interests in space and to keep its use peaceful,” he concluded.

GS events support U.S. national space security objectives to promote responsible and safe use of space as well as to partner with responsible nations, international organizations, and commercial firms. Each participating nation also shares common themes in their national policies, whether stated explicitly or inferred, to recognize the importance of spaceflight safety, seek increased international cooperation, and to ensure space security and protection.

Lt. Col. SeongHwan Choi, Chief of Korea Space Operations Center and Chief, Space Force Development Branch, explained the value of the exercise for his country, “GS19 is very beneficial to countries beginning space awareness. It provides standard milestones to other countries.”

Choi continued, “In one year South Korea participated in real world experiments that were very beneficial. GS19 is an adventure. Next year we look forward to space information tools and to share information.”

All representatives agreed that meeting others who share the SSA mission was beneficial as the U.S. maintains more than 100 SSA data sharing agreements with partner nations.

Major Rafael De Almeida Duque, Brazilian Air Force, Brazilian Aerospace Command Space Operations Center, said, “This was a great opportunity to know the SSA community, know the players. It is interesting to see someone is working to train people to conduct SSA, see tools demonstrated and receive an introduction to an SSA experiment.”

Lt. Col. Stegano Floris from Italian Air Force agreed.

“The framework is very large with no restriction of borders,” he said. “NATO or not, everybody can use the same tools with no difference. It is nice to capture knowledge with others who will be the drivers for the next agreements and memorandums of understanding for a more peaceful space.”

Many participants expressed optimism about the continued progress and how GS19 will help shape the future of international partnerships and collaboration in the space domain.

“This was a very good exercise for international cooperation, especially for collaboration. I would recommend this exercise for new entry countries due to the knowledge and relationships gained,” said Lt. Col. Sehoon Kim, Republic of Korea Liaison Officer to USSTRATCOM.

USSPACECOM is a Geographic Combatant Command with a global Area of Responsibility defined as the area surrounding the earth at altitudes equal to or greater than 100 kilometers above mean (average) sea level. The new command is globally integrated with the other geographic combatant commands and partner nations, and is prepared to support its international partners to meet tomorrow’s threat on a global scale.