The Canadian Department of National Defence has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Australia, the UK and the US to conduct joint space operations.

Called Combined Space Operations Initiative, the project enables the sharing of space-related information and resources, and formalises an existing partnership between the countries armed forces.

In particular, the initiative is expected to enable Canada and its allies to more effectively cooperate on activities, such as identifying and understanding space objects, ensuring uninterrupted satellite operations, and avoiding satellite collisions.

Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said: "Canada has been a space-faring nation for more than half a century, and in that time the space environment has become a more crowded and complex environment in which to operate.

"By extending our cooperation with our closest allies, we can share our expertise, solve common problems, and ensure defence dollars are spent to maximum effect."

Canada Defence Staff vice-chief lieutenant-general Guy Thibault said: "The partnership announced today will help the Canadian Armed Forces to continue improving its use of space capabilities and protecting our critical space assets."

"The initiative is expected to enable Canada and its allies to more effectively cooperate on activities."

General Space director brigadier-general Michel Lalumière said: "The information shared will help us in areas of mutual interest, including space situational awareness, planning for space events, and collaborating on space capabilities to maintain the strategic advantage that space provides."

The partnership is anticipated to allow for sharing of data on satellite orbits that will help prevent collisions, accuracy of GPS signals, methods to prevent interference with satellite communications, and space weather.

The initiative builds on several of the Canadian Armed Forces’ recent space projects that have benefited from international cooperation, including Sapphire, Wideband Global Satcom, the Protected Military Satcom project, and multi-national experiments.

The Canadian military currently depends on space for command and control, weather information, navigation, communications, mapping and search-and-rescue.

Defence Technology