With space exploration making it into the priority list of powerful nations, such as the United States, China, Russia, and the European Union, Pentagon expert calls for some form of rules and regulations to address the danger of collision among spacecraft and debris in orbit around space.
At the November 17 summit hosted by Defense One, Deputy Undersecretary of the Air Force for Space, Winston Beauchamp, said, "There is an erosion of some of the commonly accepted standards and norms, and there's concern about that as folks around the world have tried to find advantage, find seams. That's part of the reason why we want to codify our norms and behavior in space because it is such an important domain, not just for us but for humanity."
"We need to be able to operate in space both to advance our state of technology and eventually get the human race off this planet onto another planet," he added. "We can't do that if we have to try to fly through a shell of debris."
On the other hand, Rear Adm. Brian Brown, head of the Navy Space Cadre, said, "Much like the maritime laws that we have, they established over time by safe and responsible behaviors and patterns of life. That is something we are pushing for in a lot of different areas, so we don't have miscalculations in space," Space.com reports.
Given the possibility and the gravity of the effects of destroyed satellites and the resulting debris in space should a collision happen, Brown, who is also the deputy commander for the Joint Functional Component Command for Space at U.S. Strategic Command, said that the military is on defense mode. "Everything is about not having a war extend to space," he explained.
Asked about what the US would do were another nation attacks its space assets, Beauchamp answered, "If someone were to do something, we would respond in a time and place of our choosing, primarily because we wouldn't expect something to happen in space in isolation. It would be an extension of some conflict that would be occurring terrestrially."
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