WASHINGTON, Sept. 5, 2014 â€“ The Defense Department has signed a memorandum of understanding to share space situational awareness data with South Korea's Defense Ministry, Pentagon officials said today.
The accord provides South Korea's air force with higher-quality and more timely space information tailored for its specific purposes in exchange for satellite-positional and radio-frequency information it will provide to U.S. Strategic Command, the DoD agency responsible for space situational awareness, officials said.
Douglas L. Loverro, deputy assistant secretary of defense for space policy, and Maj. Gen. Chang Kyeong Seok, the South Korean Defense Ministry's director general of policy planning, signed the memorandum Sept. 2 on the sidelines of the Space Cooperation Working Group.
"Cooperating with international partners to develop coalition approaches to space is a priority for the Department of Defense," Loverro said. South Korea joins five nations and many other organizations already participating in space situational awareness data sharing agreements with DoD.
Peaceful use of space
By signing the memorandum, Chang said, the South Korean Defense Ministry and the DoD have come to participate in the efforts of international community for the peaceful use of space. "This opportunity will strengthen the [U.S.-South Korean alliance] through increasing the level of space cooperation between both nations' armed forces."
Such agreements enhance multinational space cooperation and streamline the process for DoD partners to request specific information gathered by Stratcom's Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, DoD officials said. The information is crucial for launch support, satellite maneuver planning, support for on-orbit anomalies, electromagnetic interference investigation, satellite decommissioning activities and on-orbit conjunction assessments, officials added.
"These space situational awareness data sharing agreements allow us to expand partnerships and enable information sharing in the increasingly congested, contested and competitive space environment," said Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, Stratcom's commander. "These agreements ultimately protect our capabilities by enhancing spaceflight safety and preventing potentially catastrophic orbital collisions."