As the Commerce Department works on plans to take over civilian space traffic management responsibilities, the U.S. Air Force is making more data available on the positions of military satellites.
Satellite observers recently noticed that Space Track, the online service operated by U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) to provide data on the orbits of satellites and other objects, was now including information on some U.S. military satellites that were previously excluded from the service. Such satellites include the AEHF, MUOS and WGS military communications satellites in geostationary orbit.
While some observers wondered if this information was released in error, the service's Twitter account said this was a deliberate action as part of efforts to provide more space situational awareness (SSA) data. "We are releasing additional data about some space objects not previously available," it stated Dec. 7. "USSTRATCOM has a new policy to enhance SSA data sharing, transparency and spaceflight safety." [Military Space: The Latest Satellites and Missions]