US and Finland reach space situational awareness cooperation agreement

6 November 2019 (Last Updated November 6th, 2019 16:16)

The US Space Command (USSPACECOM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Finnish Air Force to enable mutual cooperation in space situational awareness (SSA).

US and Finland reach space situational awareness cooperation agreement
Marcus Hitchcock and the Finnish Air Force commander major general Pasi Jokinen sign the MoU on SSA cooperation. Credit: MoD of Finland / Finnish Air Force Public Affairs / Released.

The US Space Command (USSPACECOM) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Finnish Air Force to enable mutual cooperation in space situational awareness (SSA).

The US and Finland will exchange public space situational information to ensure protection against space debris and reduce collision risks as part of the agreement, which was signed  by the two institutions in Helsinki, Finland.

In a press release, the USSPACECOM stated that the agreement seeks to allow the two countries to work towards transparency and predictability in the space domain.

USSPACECOM plans and policy director rear admiral Marcus Hitchcock said: “Space Situational Awareness requires extensive collaboration, and agreements such as this allow us to partner more effectively.

“As more countries field space capabilities and benefit from the use of space systems, it is in our collective interest to act responsibly, promote transparency and enhance the long-term sustainability, stability, safety and security of the domain.”

A host of countries already signed SSA data-sharing agreements to have greater access to space for security and economic gains.

The countries include the UK, France, Australia, Italy, the US, South Korea, Canada, Germany, Israel, Spain, the Netherlands and New Zealand.

Hitchcock added: “The way we defend and protect our way of life is to build alliances and partnerships with countries who also embrace the shared goal of continued peaceful use of space.

“Our international partners have contributed to SSA and have aided our ability to communicate across the globe for years. These strong international alliances and partnerships create opportunity to demonstrate the peaceful use of space while sharing and disaggregating the US space capability.”

The US Government intends to forge international partnerships for space cooperation.

Established in August, USSPACECOM is responsible for reaching agreements with governmental agencies and commercial satellite owners and operators.