US Strengthening Space Cooperation with Asia

Highlighting tha United States’ commitment to addressing the challenges facing the space environment, the United States of America is strengthening space cooperation with Asian countris

In his remarks on “Rebalancing Towards Asia With Space Cooperation” in Colorado Springs, Deputy Assistant Secretary Frank A. Rose says Asian nations have increased their profile on the world stage and continue to increase their role in addressing global challenges over the past decades.

“Our Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy reflects recognition by the United States that we must broaden and deepen our engagement in the region at all levels.” – Mr. Rose

Space debris populations seen from outside geosynchronous orbit (GEO).

One important cooperation with the region is to ensure the long-term sustainability, stability, safety, and security of the space environment.

To deepen its engagement, the US State Department is following the comprehensive, multidimensional strategy laid out by President Obama and other senior leaders.

This includes strengthening alliances; deepening partnerships with emerging powers; empowering regional institutions; and building a stable and constructive relationship with China.

US strengthening alliance with the Asia-Pacific region in terms of space security

The US is updating alliance to face evolving security challenges, such as those in the space environment.

The United States and Japan have held several space security dialogues in the last three years, in addition to ongoing civil space dialogues.

The Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) is an important source of information on the small particle space debris environment.

US and Japan have recognized recognized space cooperation in their joint statement and issued a list of six space initiatives for expanded space cooperation between the United States and Japan.

US and Republic of Korea collaborate on space security

Mr. Roce says discussions on space security have also been increasing between US government and that of the Republic of Korea, and the establishment of a formal space security dialogue between two nations is currently being considered.

The United States and the Republic of Korea supports the creation of transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs) and rules of responsible behavior in space, such as the International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities, as do Japan and Australia.

“The United States and the ROK also closely coordinate on the work of the United Nations Group of Governmental Experts study on Outer Space TCBMs, which we are both members of.” – Mr. Rose

US building partnerships to address problems of the space environment

Aside from boosting its alliances for the new demands of the 21st century, the US is also building new partnerships to help solve the shared problems of the space environment.

US asserts all nations established and emerging spacefaring nations have a responsibility in maintaining the sustainability and security of the space environment.

The strong U.S.-India cooperation on space security issues, in the Asia-Pacific and internationally also made a difference.

US says the relationship between India and America will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century because India plays a strong role for Indian leadership in regional and multilateral space fora, where India has much to give, and also to gain.

“It is clear that there are significant areas of strategic convergence between India and the United States on space issues.” – Mr. Rose

Forging deeper ties with emerging spacefaring nations

Mr. Rose underlines that the US spent a great deal of time in Asia in the past two years, discussing space security issues with my counterparts in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The increasing engagement with ASEAN members is part of a broader effort by the United States to deepen its commitment to the region and to work with all nations to ensure a sustainable and secure space environment, Mr. Rose said.

The US is proud to participate in and support last December’s ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) workshop on space security, co-hosted by Vietnam and Australia.

US and China address problems is space environment

US is also trying to engage China on space security bilaterally and multilaterally.

Both the United States and China have an interest in maintaining the long-term sustainability of the space environment, especially limiting the creation of long-lived space debris.

To this end, both nations are working to establish a direct line of communication between U.S. and Chinese officials in order to provide the Chinese with timely conjunction notifications.

US committed to addressing the challenges facing the space environment

With the problems in the space environment continue to bother nations around the world, the US expresses commitment to tackle the problem with the cooperationg of other nations.

“However, we recognize that we cannot address these challenges alone.” – Mr. Rose

He says all nations including those in the Asia-Pacific region, which is seeing a rapid expansion in its number of spacefaring nations, and rapid development of those nations’ capabilities should work together to adopt approaches for responsible activity in space to preserve its use for the benefit of future generations.

As U.S. foreign and defense policy rebalances to the Asia-Pacific, US is deepening its engagement with the region on space security issues.

Space getting congested? Much has changed!

According to Mr. Rose, over fifty-five years have passed since Sputnik was launched, and much has changed, both in the breadth of space capabilities.

Today, the world relies on satellites for communications, for disaster management and relief, for treaty monitoring, and for sustainable development, among many other things.

“Our world’s increasing reliance on space assets is also reflected in the number of nations now operating in space.” – Mr. Rose

Reports say there are approximately sixty nations and government consortia, as well as numerous private sector organizations that operate in space, and that number is expected to continue to grow.

Increasing space debris resulted in increased orbital congestion, complicating space operations for all those that seek to benefit from space.

As the United States’ strategic guidance for “Priorities for 21st Century Defense” points out, “Growth in the number of space-faring nations is also leading to an increasingly congested and contested space environment, threatening safety and security.”

Today’s space situation is even more pronounced than it was a decade ago.

The space is no longer an environment accessed nearly exclusively by two superpowers or a few countries. Barriers to entry are lower than ever. Many countries are enjoying access to and the benefits of space in unprecedented numbers.

The space now is the domain of a growing number of satellite operators; approximately 60 nations and government consortia operate satellites, as well as numerous commercial and academic satellite operators.

Paradoxically, while it is becoming increasingly easier to access as well as to benefit from space. However, decades of space activity have littered low Earth orbit with debris, and as the world’s spacefaring nations continue to increase activities in space, the chance for collision increases correspondingly.

The situation means the coutries need to think carefully through how all countries can all operate there safely and responsibly.

The U.S. Department of Defense tracks roughly 22,000 objects in orbit, of which only 1,100 are active satellites. He added that while some pieces of debris are simply “dead” satellites or spent booster upper stages still orbiting, and others are the results of accidents or mishaps, such as the 2009 Cosmos-Iridium collision, some debris is the result of intentionally destructive events, such as China’s test in space of an anti-satellite weapon in 2007.

US emphasizes that ensuring the long-term sustainability, stability, safety, and security of the space environment through measures such as providing prior notifications of launches of space launch vehicles, establishing “best practices guidelines,” and warning of risks of collisions between space objects are in the vital interest of the United States and the entire world community and enhance our mutual security interests.”

The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that an International Code enhances national security and maintains the United States’ inherent right of individual and collective self-defense, a fundamental part of international law. The United States would only subscribe to such a Code of Conduct if it protects and enhances the national and economic security of the United States, our allies, and our friends. The Administration is committed to keeping the U.S. Congress informed as our consultations with the spacefaring community progress.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.