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News | Oct. 27, 2022

USSPACECOM Deputy Commander kicks off Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium alongside NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Director

By Staff Report U.S. Space Command

U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. John Shaw, U.S. Space Command deputy commander, participated in a panel discussion on the topic of leadership alongside NASA Marshall Space Flight Center director Jody Singer on day one of the 2022 Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Ala., Oct. 26, 2022.
Appearing before an audience of current and future space-industry professionals, Shaw and Singer spoke to the importance of partnerships and both highlighted the existing collaboration between U.S. Space Command and NASA.
“We are responsible for the Department of Defense’s support to human spaceflight,” Shaw explained of U.S. Space Command’s designation as Human Space Flight Support manager. “That's actually given to us in a document from the President of the United States saying that's part of our mission.”
In August 2022, U.S. Space Command’s service components completed a validation exercise to ensure in the event of an off-nominal commercial crewed space flight, U.S. Space Command could step-in with terrestrial recovery and rescue.
“We will continue to support, in every way that we possibly can, NASA and our astronauts on the ISS and as they head back to the moon, to ensure the safety and success of each mission,” Shaw continued.
The space domain is not exclusive to the civil and national defense sectors, though. As space becomes more accessible, society’s reliance on space continues to grow, leading to a space domain that’s more crowded than ever before.
This “conjunction of sectors,” Shaw suggested, marks the beginning of the third space age.
“We have a greater conjunction between the space sectors today than we’ve ever seen. In fact, it’s the theme of why we’re here [at the Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium]: collaboration, cooperation, and inclusion.”
The presence of commercial, civil, scientific, and national defense sectors in space, Shaw noted, is the reason for United States Space Command as well as the United States Space Force.
“In the Department of Defense, we’re really focused on how we make sure the threats to our space systems are mitigated and how we protect and defend our space capabilities, whether they are Department of Defense’s or commercial,” Shaw added.
One step for addressing those threats, Shaw said, was allowing U.S. Space Command to focus on Space Domain Awareness, or the characterization of on-orbit hazards and threats. To do so, U.S. Space Command and the United States Department of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Agreement, housing the responsibility of routine space traffic management under a civil agency.
“This is positive,” Shaw said. “This means we’re normalizing governance and oversight for what’s happening in space.”
As NASA explores deeper into space and commercial and national defense assets grow in number and capability, the importance of defining what is acceptable behavior in space with regard for other space-faring nations continues to grow. The key to ensuring continued access to space though, Shaw offered with his closing remarks, is teamwork.
“Everything that we’re doing [with cooperating, collaborating, and inclusion] as a nation and with other nations with regards to space is how we can better work together to ensure continued peace in our domain. That’s our purpose, that’s why Space Command exists.”