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tv   Experts Testify on Managing Space Traffic  CSPAN  July 23, 2021 4:06pm-5:42pm EDT

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thought i left that life behind me. and i had changed. i never thought it would converge again. i never thought i would be any position of having to think like that and potentially act like that, certainly not as a member of congress in 2021 in the house chamber in the u.s. capitol. >> this week, you will also hear from oklahoma republican markwayne mullin and new jersey democrat tom malinowski. 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, or listen on the c-span radio app. ♪
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>> and now, a hearing on managing space traffic and avoiding collisions with debris. the senate commerce subcommittee on space and science use testimony on the increase in space junk, security to prevent attacks and space and escalation of private industry in space travel. this is 90 minutes.
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chair: calling this meeting to order. please be seated. good gracious. it should be us standing for you. you should all be aware of several things. one, even though there is not a committee room of people that you can see that is full, we are zooming this to a majority of the commerce committee, which is a large committee. there is a staff member for every commerce committee member, and every senator watching, not
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to mention millions watching at home. [laughter] or not. i should give fair warning, this is my first committee hearing that i get to chair as the chair of the space and science subcommittee of the commerce committee. so you will have to take your own risks with that. when they told me i was going to get to chair this committee, my communications staff, i should not say it, but i was over the moon. [laughter] this is important not only to colorado, it is something i have had a passionate interest in for a long time. it is ironic this first meeting is on space trash, which sounds dismissive and yet, as you know, this is one of the most important things we are facing and i hope what comes out of this meeting is a sense of urgency around that.
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this is a pivotal time, and the potential for catastrophic accidents if we continue with the status quote israel and demands action. this discussion is going to be examining space situational awareness, ssa. i will go back and forth between saying space situational awareness and ssa so we don't get buried in acronyms. space traffic management, stm and then, managing orbital debris. space situational awareness protect valuable federal and commercial assets, allows us to track and notify satellite operators of objects in orbit. we need space situational awareness to coordinate space traffic management and make sure we avoid collisions through
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appropriate notification. a number of reports estimate over 4000 active satellites in orbit, but i think the more perplexing number is the well over 100 million pieces of orbital debris that threatened the space ecosystem. gps, weather forecasting, telecommunications, all manner of scientific research rely on satellites in orbit. a safe environment in low orbit is critical to almost every facet of the space industry and its attentive growth. as activity in space is increasing, increased satellite lodges have been for both scientific research and commerce.
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this committee will continue its critical oversight role in space traffic management, stm, space sigil -- space situational awareness, ssa, and orbital debris. we have numerous examples of collisions in space. a chinese weapons demonstration left over 3000 space objects moving through space. at 2000 night satellite collision -- a 2009 satellite collision between a russian satellite created over 1800 space objects at least. since 1999, the international space association conducted 29 debris avoidance remove -- debris avoidance maneuvers. we can't wait for the next collation before taking action. -- next collision before taking action. space policy erected three as
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made clear who is responsible for what in addressing this problem. the department of commerce was to assume all civil space situational awareness duties from the department of defense, nasa was to up date it's orbital debris mitigation standards, and the departments of commerce and transportation were to update licensing processes for satellite launches. 2021 appropriations, commerce committee doubled the budget of the office of space commerce. i use doubled the budget with a certain amount of significance, reflecting the urgency and critical nature of what we are talking about. we required a pilot program for space traffic management database. the work of ranking member wicker, who will be here, i am sure his staff is washing -- is
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watching, and chairwoman cantwell will be here as well, on the space act is commendable. it codifies commerce department policies, the center to advance scientific research in ssa as well. the space act passed the commerce committee twice had recently passed the full senate in the u.s. innovation competition act, usica, also called the endless frontier act. they clearly demonstrate we need swift action, and part of it immediately is to enact usica and space act into law. the biden administration is implementing aspects of sbd 3, and oversight is important. we need to maintain leadership in space. it must include space traffic
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management. a lack of international rules of the road is a serious problem. the regulatory regimes demand serious attention. the european union, russia, china, they are all developing their own stm frameworks which again, how we are able to lead on this, mixer we set up appropriate frameworks so that our interests aren't overruled, i think is critically important. we need to recognize the importance to our space interests in this. other issues are international liability law which applies to negligence but not necessarily to a lack of response to a collision alert.
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there is a significant amount of r&d to modernize our alerts. this brings back the need for constant tracking for all objects. the limited ability of spacecraft to maneuver underscores the importance of ssa and stm, and the space act dedicates funding to ssa ssa and -- funding to ssa and r&d. we look forward to witness testimony on issues about how it about how to advance u.s. interests in space and space traffic management. i emphasize are grateful we are to take time here today -- grateful we are to you to take
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time here today. i take parochial privilege to recognize first the professor from the university of colorado boulder. he has been a thought leader on stm and ssa and space related topics. he led the 2019 office of space commerce workshop on ssa at the campus in boulder. we also have karina, of the commercial spaceflight federation. commercial space companies are represented by the spaceflight federation. we have a number of companies in colorado, but these companies are all over the united states. it is a national issue. she coordinates activity with federal agencies for the in-space servicing of satellites and safe access to low-earth orbit.
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we have seen examples of that in recent days. we have kevin o'connell of space economy rising, director of the office of space commerce under the previous administration. his views on u.s. leadership focus on space safety, sustainability. and paul of stomspoc corporation. he will discuss threats and challenges and the space environment. and tom, president of the space satellite association, represents satellite companies and again, a number of colorado companies but companies all over the country represented by the satellite industry associates a -- satellite industry association. i will reserve my position of being over the moon. a great opportunity to kick this off. i promise never to make that pun again. i would like to recognize the
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ranking member for an opening statement. senator: thank you, chairman hickenlooper. i love your time, absolutely appropriate. he has worn it for our first hearing, and i really look forward to working with you on this topic. this is going to be a fine committee because of the bipartisan nature of space, because of the developments we are seeing. just last week. and we are very excited to join you in addressing some of the issues today. so, welcome panelists. i am pleased this is our first hearing topic. it is timely and important. space traffic management, space situational awareness and orbital debris -- i have no problem being identified as the space junk lady or the space trash lady.
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[laughter] this is an important topic for our time and it is great to be ranking member on the subcommittee. the space sector is evolving so quickly. the civilian flight to the edges of space this weekend over the past few years, the number of satellites base has increased dramatically as companies have launched mega constellations, just a wonderful exciting time for me to be involved in this topic. the space around earth is becoming congested. and the problem is only going to grow. there are more than 4000 satellites in orbit right now. 1200 of those were launched in 2020. and we have already surpassed that number in 2021. it is estimated 46,000 new satellites could be launched in the next few years.
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the smallest pieces of orbital debris -- i have learned that even paint flecks can cause damage. rather than tracking orbital debris, we have to look for ways to prevent it in the first place, and with companies helping and solutions to take out the trash and get rid of the junk. innovation that is creating this problem is exciting, but the government must take the lead on ssa, stm and policy to prevent and remove orbital debris. the previous administration understood the importance of this mission and the changing nature of the space industry necessitated moving some of this
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responsibility away from the department of defense. and 2018, the trump admitted -- in 2018, the trump administration published space policy three to put responsibility to the office of space commerce. congress appropriated funds to the office of space commerce to create a data repository to improve ssa and stm. in 2020, a study recommended the office of space commerce be selected to conduct the ssa-stm mission. i am concerned we are now three years after spd was published, and the commerce department has been slow to develop the open architecture repository that is badly needed. instead, it commissioned more studies to examine the already-answered question of
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which government agency is best suited to take on the task. i am concerned the administration has not announced a director to take over the office of space commerce. i hope in our hearing today, with our panelists, we will help illuminate the urgency of getting the data repository up and running, and provide us with information and ideas of how to work with the private sector. thank you, mr. chairman, and panelists. i yield back. chair: thank you, senator lummis . i appreciate your comments, and also your time and effort as ranking member of the subcommittee. let's go with your opening statements.
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>> thank you. thank you for inviting the commercial spaceflight federation, csi, to present our views on space safety for sustainable future of the united states in orbit. csi is the leading organization for the space industry, creating tens of thousands of u.s. jobs focused on building a growing space economy focused on science -- supporting science, academia, business and government. the industry's leading the world today thanks in part to the public-private partnerships this committee has supported and continues to support. as a result of private-sector innovation, the u.s. has seen an increase in the number of launches and number of satellite deployed in orbit, providing
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critical capabilities including broadband internet, earth mapping and environmental monitoring. ensuring of global commitment to say he and space sustainability have never been more important. space situational awareness represents the most pressing issue today, as access to timely tracking data is essential for ensuring continued safe operations in space for all. csf has recommendations from the space sent nasa to transfer activities to the department of commerce and acknowledges the committee long supported doc in leading this mission. doc commenced developing the data positive or a to collect government and commercial data into a new database. this is a great first step. csf recommends doc staff and the office space commerce to iterate
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the system from a prototype to a successful, operational system. delays could create additional uncertainty. we encourage congress to provide financial resources to the office of space commerce to implement this mission. we recommend the government offer a free ssa data tier to make sure it is not competing with the private sector. this represents a commitment to safe safety while allowing private companies to develop innovative tools. the stakes of ssa and space junk management -- today the fcc serves as primary provider of regulations for satellite systems. as the largest consumer of commercial space data in the world, the u.s. remains in a
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unique position to dictate reasonable stm and orbital debris standards, but only if it applies this requirement equally to all companies seeking to serve the domestic market. in addition, newly developed stm rules must encourage safe operation at rapid innovation. this balance is critical to prevent satellite systems to licensing foreign administrations without the same rules, leaving an incomplete picture of orbital operations and reducing transparency. csf recommends ftc modify rules to require any company that serves the u.s. market comply with u.s. orbital debris rules to improve global activities while leveling the playing fields for companies licensed in the u.s. csf recommends doc partner with nasa to leverage nasa expertise in developing effective technical standards, particularly for orbital debris mitigation.
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nasa has institutional knowledge on safe operations that would benefit the department of commerce. thank you for the opportunity to testify. i look forward to questions. chair hickenlooper: thank you mr. o'connell. senator o'connell: thank you for returning to the subcommittee. in my prepared statement, i updated the committee on exciting developments. we see the space economy accelerating very quickly. space activities contribute an estimated $5 trillion annually to the u.s. economy. that number is growing. second, our appreciation of the value of space in our lives is changing. we increasingly recognize space as a key element of if not the backbone of the 21st-century economy. space will fuel taech -- tech.
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many states and other countries are exploring how to leverage space for economic growth and innovation. i offer this only to describe what is at risk if we do not respond promptly to the space debris challenge. space debris threatens the astronauts at the international space station, millions of dollars in investment sent nasa commerce. the loss to the iss in april was flawless save for a near miss space debris. a canadian craft was punctured by debris inmate. these calls are too close. these discussions actually date back to the reagan administration and have been an increasing priority. an increasing number of organizations are vocal on the problem and need for action. space policy directive three
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recognized this problem and directed a whole of government approach to directing new paths to space safety, acknowledged the role of the department of defense and the need to shift to a space traffic management system. it also recognized the importance of our international space partners. a key tenet of spd three is the need to modernize the ssa architecture of leverage commercial capabilities. communications, cloud-based data management, analytics and other technologies that have helped innovate many other industries can be leveraged here immediately. meanwhile, entrepreneurs have developed new tools to mitigate space systems. new ways of characterizing the space environment are key while
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others are working with machine learning and active debris removal to improve space safety. the open architecture approach will allow tools to be incorporated quickly. beyond improved relation avoidance, firms are already developing new services as part of the emerging industry. one complicated fact is how quickly the debris threat is changing, given more complex missions over the next decade. the government should focus on how to acquire, validate and implement these services. we are not alone in the need to deal with the problem. the u.s. and its allies routinely discuss this issue in its many different forms. not everyone is on board, however. the uncontrolled reentry of a chinese rocket in may, the second such occurrence, had the world on edge about whether it might damage property and kill people. russia held up progress at the
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united nations on long-term sustainability guidelines until they were finally passed in 2018. there is no doubt that if long-standing american leadership in space safety falters, these countries will stepien. the chinese belt and rode initiative -- road initiative is no exception. since space will play a growing role in the 21st century economy, the commerce department is uniquely positioned. the congressionally directed report that was mentioned combined roles of partners in challenges. the office of space commerce was established over 30 years ago as a gift to the u.s. commercial space industry.
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given the importance of the space industry to our economy and security, the office must be elevated to the office of a secretary, where it can engage departmental leadership. i want to express personal thanks to this committee for the space preservation preservation act of 2020 and one to 21. the committee recognizes the problem and the need for action. a provision to create a center of excellence for ssa is especially welcome, given the need for more research in this area. thank you. >> thank you, chairman hickenlooper, members of the subcommittee, thank you for the honor of talking about this critical topic. the university of colorado was a top institution in researching space and ssa. we have operational
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capabilities, telescopes, rf dishes and are involved in all elements of research related to space management and ssa. rapidly growing commercial services at resource exploration in space promise meaningful economic growth, and increased danger. our present situation is like being in heavy traffic without a sense of right-of-way. we stand at a thrilling precipice. ahead, there are countless opportunities that promise economic prosperity, innovation and international leadership. i have three points would like to communicate today. number one, the government and industry have a historic opportunity to lead the
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international community in developing stm and ssa norms of behavior and rules of the road. i recommend the u.s. lead these efforts on rules of the road and norms of behavior. i recommend considering the nobel prize-winning framework developed by dr. elinor ostrom and shared by dr. mark meany for governing resources such as space. taking this mental of leadership reinforces a rules-based system of international commerce. -- taking this mantle of leadership reinforces a rules-based system of international commerce. industry must participate in determining these rules of the road and norms of behavior. the u.s. should aspire to lead
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in space. point number two, now is the right time to articulate clear mission authority in domains of responsibility for all relevant government agencies. the mission authorization for the department of commerce is necessary to maintain and widen our leading technical and space industry position. point number three, we have a chance to streamline our civil ssa and stm research and development enterprise. this can produce transformative research, technology development and developing future workforce necessary to realize substantial prosperity in space. additionally, nominal coordination between research agencies and consistent funding and support to academia, perhaps in the form of centers of excellence, will help develop the workforce necessary and produce the research that we need.
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finally, government, industry and academia should contribute to surveys that identify high-impact research and tech development objectives. allow the united states to meet this historic opportunity with operation -- with preparation. combined, these actions have potential to ensure rules-based u.s. leadership in ssa and stm. improved basic research and tech development experts will ultimately produce of rubbing space economy. thank you, again, for the opportunity to testify on the criticality of our challenges and opportunities within ssa and space traffic management. i would please to answer question -- i would be pleased to answer questions. chair: thank you.
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>> members the committee, thank you for inviting me, and my company that i represent, the commercial space operations center, to testify before you. while i am here representing my company, which is 100% focused on this problem,, i plan that this testimony represent all commercial companies involved in this business we have since the inception of our company have taken an approach that is inviting -- inviting other companies to participate. we have strong relationships with most of the commercial
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space situational awareness companies. [indiscernible] i feel pretty good about representing the industry here is a whole. first up, this has been established in the video. there we go. i won't let the video run the whole time. i think it is understood what a day without space would you like -- would be like. this goes through that. we will skip through this and jump to the next chart, which has more interesting video. this video coming up will depict the growth of tract objects. you will see both graphic depictions as well as a graph
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that will show how that population increases dramatically. there is a few takeaways from this. one is a flat-out growth. two, most of these objects are debris and therefore not controllable, a problem. three, you will see big spikes, coming up in 2007 the first one, the chinese satellite weapons test with 3000 or so objects created. in 2009, you can see the collision you also mentioned, a low-orbit satellite and russian communications satellite collision. when those collisions happened, it increases the problem tremendously. if we go to the next chart, it
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is a better way to look at this debris problem. what ucr cra spatial density representation that what you can see -- what you can see are a density represent -- spatial density representation. if you go to the next chart, this is the 107,000 satellites that right now our proposed to be launched. so we have a big problem coming our way and we better start dealing with it, or that is not going to happen.
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just one more graphic that basically says not all of those are going to fly. but if you look at this chart, that greenline on the long chart is showing the actuals, and you can see that it is tracking way more than 10%. we have a lot of spacecraft coming our way. i want to conclude with recommendations from our perspective. one, it is critical to motivate space companies by empowering noaa and the office of space commerce to fully embrace commercial ssa providers. number two, more funding for the office of space commerce needs to happen. third, clear, deliberate and direct action to prioritize funding for commercial ssa's.
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and thirdly, we strongly support the space act. thanks for holding this hearing, thanks for inviting us and [indiscernible] chair: thank you. tom: i'm president of the satellite industry association which represents the commercial industry. the u.s. industry is leading space innovation and the need for more precise orbital trucking, ssa and in the future, the space management regime. safety is critical to all operators. when navigating through debris fields, operators [indiscernible]
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operational satellites will change substantially in five years. to accommodate this growth, current regulations require review and revision. the six most important issues are timeliness number one. deployments have increased dramatically with over 1200 satellites launched in 2020. operators rely on ssa to characterize the environment and anticipate collision. more advanced services are needed to support future operations and establish safety and sustainability. there is need for information sharing, transparency and coordination among satellite operators as well as u.s. and foreign administrations. given the safety aspect inherent in ssa, government-backed services are critical. number two, orbital accuracies. today's free ssa services
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feature accuracies to support flight safety provisions and some global regimes will far short eerie accuracy is suitable depends on operator selected collision avoidance thresholds, tracking prioritization, the object's physical properties and maneuverability. a focus should be on improving data accuracy prude number three, continued development of commercial tools. several commercial versions of ssa exist. adoption of government and commercial services and in sc dm operation will improve services for operators. number four, tracking and analytics. observations are required to build a robust, accurate ssa system. number five, open architecture
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data repository. satellite operators contribute data relevant space safety, including positional predictions, maneuver plans, lodge, early orbit and reentry data. commercial companies lead the development and implementation of these capabilities. this model must be extended globally. number six, availability of information. ssa and stcm data must be available to all operators. sia recommends these actions. number one, action and funding are needed now. the commercial sector is quickly driving u.s. leadership in space. the u.s. must act now to implement the modern ssa, stcm environment.
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number two a framework should be established that specific technologies that meet requirements should not be dictated. space companies are renowned for ingenuity. allowing innovative ways to meet requirements of a modern space safety framework will encourage development and ensure cost efficient and effective technologies. number three, governments should encourage best practices. the commercial space industry has a track record of responsible operations in space, and caps on a safe environment to undertake business. solidifying the participation and support of industry to ensure widespread adoption of space safety practices is critical and will reduce need for unnecessary come off burden regulation. and number four, any effective solution must be whole of space and endeavor to meet global needs. a successful, modern and sustainable stcm system will
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include all categories of space activity, u.s. and international. the u.s. can't accomplish this on its own. and if regulations are not appropriate, satellite operators will license systems and foreign administrations rather than the u.s. this will require the relationship and leadership of u.s. government, stakeholders and like-minded nations. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you -- happy to answer questions. thank you. chair: thank you. i apologize for mispronouncing your name. with a name like hickenlooper, i am usually more attentive. i apologize. we will go to questions. i will start with dr. holding zinger. stcm requires some level of enforcement, rules with feasibility and as we have with other nations, developing their
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own rules, where do you think -- how do we demonstrate global leadership on this issue at ssa and stm and make sure people realize we are still the leader? >> the u.s. needs to demonstrate leadership through consensus-based methods. if you look at dr. eleanor ostrom's framework for developing commons, it is necessary to [indiscernible] otherwise, they will circumvent those rules. although there is some level of international cooperation that needs to be led by the u.s., if we don't have the u.s. this endeavor, other individuals or
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entities will. and they will not necessarily form rules or regulations that are consistent with our national interests. chair: and part of this is the level of awareness of the american people isn't where it needs to be, in terms of the level of debris in space, and also how fast it travels intel a small piece of debris could do significant damage. mr. o'connell, the former director of the office of space commerce, went steps did you take in the office to get the word out to the american people about the risks? what advice did give to your successor? mr. o'connell: from the first day, ironically my appointment
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was announced at the white house at the same -- on the same day as the three was announced at the white house. we spent literally every day, in some measure, on the topic, trying to work the many different dimensions, supporting interagency discussions, working on rules of the road, partly to encourage the message that we are having here, the growing role of the private sector in space, working on the technical architecture. we put a colleague out at vandenberg to work with the department of defense, and they were tremendous partners because they want to get out of this piece of the mission as much as we want the opportunity to take it on. that partnership was continuous throughout to work the technical issues, how is it done today and how can it be done better? finally, industry engagement, appreciating all the companies represented here and beyond. last november, we held an
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industry day with over 200 organizations that participated virtually to talk about this activity in terms of the words -- about this activity. in terms of the words to my successor, there are other reforms as well and this is the most important mission at this point given what is at stake and given the need to make very rapid progress in this area. and we can do it using commercial capabilities for this piece of the mission. chair: thank you. sounds like good advice. it doesn't always happen in government to have two cooperating agencies transferring responsibility. i am sure that is a reflection of your heart. i wanted to ask each of you to discuss how the commercial space industry has stcm an ssa and how
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it could complement other federal dishes -- federal nations. >> overall, they are providing tremendous benefits to society. the two that come to mind are climate change and broadband internet. we have a number of initiatives underway in this administration, the climate effort, and this is where the industry can provide a lot of value. broadband is another area where the industry is providing broadband access to tens of millions of americans who might not otherwise receive the access. >> i would say everybody uses satellites virtually every day. in the industry has sought to lead by example by establishing a set of best practices and encouraging development of the ruse emed -- development of the
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regime we are talking about. chair: i will turn over the questioning to ranking member lummis. senator lummis: one of my major concerns is that it is taking a long time for the department of commerce to set up the open-ended space architecture. what is holding up the process and what needs to be done? >> thank you. we worked on it with the office team literally every day during my time at commerce. one aspect is that we needed to get our heads around different partnerships and opportunities available in the commercial industry. secondly, this was a resource question, the extent to which we
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had a very, very small budget. when i arrived at the office and 2018, no one had let the office for 10 years and accordingly, its tiny budget and very small staff. so some of our early days were built up bringing in people who could help with many different responsibilities. it is a resource issue. it needs to be resourced now. in the napa report, there are budget estimates we paired during my time at commerce and it was looked at by the commerce department management and also by napa. senator lummis: the biden administration has not yet announced a director of osc. they have a lot on their plate right now. but could you talk about the importance of having someone at the helm at osc? >> thank you. the office had a number of
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missions. it had advocacy first and foremost and advocacy is not yearly. -- is not cheerleading. it is about identifying trends in the market. it is about helping companies break regulatory logjams. companies going overseas, we want to avoid that. it is about improving space economy statistics so we all make that her decisions. we did that with the bureau of economic analysis. advocacy is our legally mandated mission. in addition to work on regulatory reform, many space policy activities and high policy activities during the trump administration, and all the responsibilities associated with this. we made progress on all those fronts, i believe, and we. . need to pick up the pace -- and we need to pick up the pace.
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senator lummis: in your testimony, you talked about non-usa entities standing up. can you elaborate on the kind quinces -- elaborate on the consequences of non-usa entities taking leadership in this area? and sometimes, for viewers on c-span, we use acronyms to the point where we don't know what we are talking about. space situational awareness refers to tracking and identifying all objects in earth orbit. this is really important as we are launching more and more. so this is really important today. mr. graziani: absolutely, many nations throughout the world really want to take a key role in ssa and space traffic
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management. there are a lot of reasons -- national sovereignty, being able to control and understand what is going on using your own assets, those are issues. i then, there are military issues -- and then, there are military issues. space situational awareness has military applications. so if it goes to an adversary like china or russia rather than an ally like japan or the european union, we feel the united states has been a leader in this in a long time and if we don't maintain that lead their -- maintain that lead, there are going to be consequences for how ourmr. holzinger?
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>> i agree it is imperative the u.s. lead setting these roles. if other countries lead those efforts, they are going to make the rules and regulations. frankly, those will not be to the benefit and our own industry and national interests. fundamentally, it is a national interest for us to lead this effort and gain as much consensus among the international constituency as possible. >> thank you. mr. stroup. in this question i would also like to address to ms. drees. you mentioned in your testimony, ssa tracking data is not always precise enough for our space assets to make safety decisions. as a result, operators act on extra conservative assumptions. is this lack of precision a technology problem, or a deficit
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of information? how can the accuracy of data be improved? >> it is partially a technology issue. as a result, sensors are now being added to spacecraft, to add to information available. >> thank you. >> the technology has come pretty far. it is mostly an accuracy of information problem at this point. having the ability to track everything in real time, to the point where companies often are coordinating with each other. so, that is one thing we see as a definite need to fast tracked the effort. >> senator, i could add something from a commercial perspective. two things are happening. we are not collecting the right
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amount of data and we are not processing it the right way. the thing that needs to happen, you can process the data we have already in a better way, and commercial capability is already. and you can provide more collection of data out there especially in areas not well covered. >> thank you. i want to thank all of our witnesses. i call on senator blumenthal, for his questions. >> thank you. there has been an effort to develop some kind of law that relates to space and there is an effort to develop a law of the sea, maritime law. let me ask you, m tos what.
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drees,-- ms. drees, extent would clear laws promote? >> i think it is a fine line. when it comes to favorable policies, there is a growing need in the united states to have favorable policies to keep united states on the top of the space regime. secondly, and may be a close relative to that is the regulatory environments. this is where there is concern about having the right regulation at the right time, so we don't prevent innovation from companies that have flexibility today. that is one of the concerns. i think it is imperative we take deposition that we want it as a nation, we want to be able to have the control over the
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process more or less, to set the standard for the rest of the world. >> normally, in the united states, one of our great advantages is we have norms and rules and laws that are enforceable and are enforced. so we believe in the rule of law which gives credibility. when you enter into a contract, it is enforceable. and you know the government is not going to simply interfere and demand a bribe or, whatever. so, on which side you think we are erring now, too little or too much? i will open that question to the rest of you. >> senator, thank you. i would not approach it from too little or too much. i would stay -- i would say it is still early days. operators have had freedom of action if they choose to move because of a near collision. we will not have that
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opportunity in the near future. so i think two things are happening in parallel. one, appropriately, diplomats and defense organizations around the world are having gushes about norms, behavior, just like we would have a discussion in any other domain. at the same time, insomuch a this, it is about the speed of this problem and how much it is changing. industry is likely to set the practical standards by which we make these kinds of decisions. fortunately, in the united states, we are required by law to stay connected to industry standards. that is not the case with a lot of other countries developing similar systems for space traffic management of their own. so we are at the point where we have to pay careful attention to how industry is dealing with this as the basis for rules of the road as they progress and then law and regulation. >> an excellent question. as an engineering professor i
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feel compelled to say many elements of regulation should have a physics basis or first principles basis, or what the rules of the road or regulations we impose. geosynchronous space is different from polar orbit space, for example. and that is different itself from missions we sent to the moon. so whatever rules and regulations we choose to oppose, should be physics-based. >> i would add, we have talked about safe space awareness as the first step in space traffic manager coordination and management. we feel that is the appropriate process to be taken. thank you. >> i want to respond, we talk about the open architecture data repository. perhaps it needs a brand change. you understand what it does.
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it was never designed as the be-all and end-all. it was first designed to take the data from the department of defense unclassified and add an incredible amount of civil, partner, and commercial data and apply modern data management analytics tools. second, it was designed to enable, is designed to enable, the emergence of a space safety industry. we improve precision and accuracy of what we understand places to be in space, it allows industry -- and we have met with many companies -- thinking about new services. to answer your question, senator, it becomes in the open world, place will be start to have much better and more rigorous scientific data. for exam, the insurance industry will now have a new source of data about how to cockily risk in orbits -- how to calculate risks in different orbits. that is part of the benefit from moving it to the national security side into the open to
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apply modern data science and rigorous analytic techniques that will inform policy and regulation. >> thank you. >> i am in the middle of a book called, mercury rising. it is about the earliest days of the space program. john glenn and so forth. a culture shock, an excellent book, to go forward in today's age. -- from a time when they thought maybe, a person's eyeballs would pop out because of the force of -- weightlessness or geforce -- g forces of going into space. we have learned a lot. but now problem seem to be magnified and even more numerous , with the access people have
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two heights and environs that decades ago would have been unthinkable. so, i think you all for your testimony. >> thank you, senator lummis. -- senator blumenthal. next, from florida, one of our most significant states in space issues. mr. scott. >> thank you for hosting this hearing today, and i want to thank you to be for being here. in florida, space is important for us. when i became governor, medflight have been shut down and we had lost 70 -- manned flight had been shut down. we lost 7500 jobs. we put effort into revitalizing our space industry. the private sector showed up.
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it has continua -- completely change the kennedy space center. now it is difficult to find engineers because of all the things happening. thank you all of you for what you have done. so, i want to talk about what you can do with your got to cuba. -- with regard to cuba. in cuba, the population showed up, protesting. now, the oppressive cuban regime is beating up peaceful protesters. they have arrested unbelievable numbers of people. these people are being tortured for speaking about simple things like freedom. when barack obama was president, he did a plan there.
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there is a lady that, when she -- she had her hand chopped off. her atrocity was she explained school is being closed. so that is what is going on down there, it is horrible. we need to get internet back on. we can get internet back on if the people of cuba will show up and continue to tell the castro regime, your time is up. they will demand the freedom that we all cherish. what can the satellite industry do to help us get the internet back on, so the cuban population can communicate with themselves, to continue to fight for their god-given rights and liberties? >> one of the great things about the capabilities of the satellite industry in cuba is coverage. one of the fastest-growing segments as the broadband industry. the ability to be able to provide broadband service,
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giving access to information from outside the world as well as within cuba, is one example. another is the remote-sensing industry of the industry, to provide data, observational data, to cubans. that is something the industry is doing with the ability to refresh the data every day. so the government is not capable of lying to them about what is happening in the streets and elsewhere throughout the country. those are two examples. wendy obama -- when the obama administration discussed normalizing relations with cuba, there were discussions about making direct-to-consumer television available, giving them additional information they would otherwise not have. >> what can the satellite industry do now, to get internet back on? is there any technology our federal government can do or the private sector can do today, to
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get the internet back on? or to give people information? peer-to-peer information, or they can connect with each other? >> probably, to the extent we have the ability to make receivers available to members of the public, a challenge would be associate -- there would be a number of challenges with that. given the coverage of the service we have the ability to provide broadband service to them. getting receivers today maybe the bigger challenge. >> and nothing on satellite work start a cell phone, right? because the antenna is not big enough? >> could you repeat the question, please? >> there is nothing -- what they all have his cell phones, right? that is what they shut down, their ability to communicate data over cell phones. is there any way that, that the satellite industry, can, can get information to cell phones?
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or does it always have to be a significant sized receiver? >> actually, there are companies developing technology to be able to connect directly from satellites to telephones, to mobile phones. satellites are also used for backhaul, for cellular phones. to companies are working on the ability to connect directly from satellite to mobile phones. >> is that technology available? >> they have launched their first satellites, it is not commercially available yet. >> the name of the company? >> ast science and lynk. >> i will reach out to them. we have to figure out how to do this. the other thing that concerns me is, how much communist china is involved in cuba. they are part of how they are shutting dunk medications. what can't -- they are part of how they are shutting down communications. what can the satellite industry do to make sure communist china
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cannot continue to do what they're trying to do to stop communications in cuba? >> to stop? >> what communist china is doing. >> certainly, making sure there are signals available. short of jamming the signals across multiple service providers, i do not -- i do not know what else congress can do, other than to continue the satellite industry has the access to spectrum to be able to continue. >> if you come up with anything, how we can get the internet back on, it is the biggest issue we have now. you have seen the videos. there is a lady that, uh, uh, the cuban, killed, they shot her son. had to watch him bleed to death. you see protesters beaten. disgusting what cuba is doing right now. so if you have any ideas. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you for the support questions, senator scott.
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i want to give senator hickenlooper a chance to return. so i will complete my line of questioning while we wait for him, with gratitude toward our senators participating today, and to our panel. as i mentioned in my opening remarks, where then just tracking orbital debris, there must be a bigger push to prevent debris in the first place. and, more importantly, in my opinion, to take out the trash or d orbit -- de orbit space junk. i would like to hear about the possibilities and challenges of de orbiting debris , and some of the current initiatives to do so. this is something i would think has to be a priority for us. so let's start with ms. drees,
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and go down the line. >> thank you, senator. number one, a lot of the new satellites developed today are cubesats or small sats. they have the technology to essentially bring the satellite back down into the top layer of the atmosphere and burn up in the atmosphere. at the end of its useful life that is the next step in the process. to address your question about what we do about the legacy systems, the older systems that remain up in higher orbit? the good news story there is there are companies coming online that are helping to fix that problem either in terms of robotics, or other companies trying to find methods to gather debris and potentially destroy or burn it up alternatively. >> thank you, senator.
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we talk a lot about organizations and the architecture data repository. we have for tools in our toolkit. one is not creating new debris. there are important technical development in that area from academia and industry that will lighten, provide light coverage for satellites and things like that. second, improving space situational awareness. third, the space traffic management function. the fourth is active debris removal. in addition, there is an emerging sector, satellite servicing, which will improve the life of satellites in space. further, space tugs will be able to move things from orbitz to graveyard orbits as they are referred to in other places so there are options in our toolkit to deal with this. the active debris removal we are seeing a lot of interest in japan and europe. there are companies in the united states that would like to
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see more of an office as an investment in the basic technologies they will need to do that. we are not without our capability to deal with this in many ways. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. there are two points i would like to make. number one, most systems or methods, techniques, to remove spacecraft from orbit and remove debris from orbit may appear to others to be dual use. one persons rendezvous vehicle could have multiple potential interpretations. anytime we are looking toward de-orbiting objects or managing debris, i think transparency is key in terms of what we are going to take down and de-orbit in the long run. there was a national study ears ago that suggested de-orbiting five large rocket body style
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objects each year would freeze the current debris population, mitigate it to that extent. that was before i think many of the mega constellations had been proposed and were going to be launched. i imagine that number is higher these days. a final point i will briefly make. again, being an academic, i see a lot of the new and latest research on these topics. for awareness, i will mention the graveyard orbit is also largely unstable in the long term. there are few select orbits in the graveyard orbit, that will not ultimately end up causing collision issues over the next 50 or 100 years. >> thank you. mr. graziani. >> great question and glad you brought this up. i will start off as dr. holzinger mentioned, the graveyard orbit for geosynchronous. one thing that does happen now
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is, operators once their spacecraft are getting for the end of life, will try to leave spacecraft from geosynchronous up to that. now there is more and more interest in orbits between the earth and moon. as that pans out, that is more of a problem, having more junk that previously we did not go through that often, interplanetary and to the moon. next and this was mentioned, and i agree, pulling the large pieces of debris already out there down so they do not become thousands and tens of thousands of small pieces of debris is key and it is doable. there are many companies working on that. that is substantial. continuing to work backwards here, there is at least one company that proposed a lunch space technologies corporation, proposed orbiting three catching pads that will try to catch the very small debris that is not a
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tractable. it is a very innovative approach. one company is a u.s. based company looking to partner with the doc, nasa, and the department of defense to help that become a reality. that is an answer to small, on trackable debris. to -- continuing to go backwards in the points you made, observing and having better space situational awareness systems allows us to take action to prevent collisions from happening, is key. now we are on track to have a major collision in low-earth orbit every 10 years. that problem is getting worse and worse. so the ssa and stcm is a critical part of your question. >> thank you, this is really helpful. mr. stroup. >> i would add, si has developed space safety principles.
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one element that has not been touch upon is most --satellites are designed to orbit and burn up on reentry. our principles encourage addressing these issues as part of their operation commercially. >> thank you all, panelists. high-yield back to the chair. -- i yelled back to the chair -- i yield to the chair. >> the denman from colorado. -- the gentleman from colorado. >> the chair of the committee, from washington. >> thank you for holding this hearing and thank you to witnesses. this is a very important topic for many companies in the pacific northwest continuing to focus on space in many ways. we like to think we are the silicon valley of space. i mentioned in this committee, i
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have met people who told me they were working on materials for a space hotel. i thought they meant in your backyard giving you more space so your relatives can calm and visit. they said no, up there, i am working on materials for up there. ok. let us say people are planning ahead. when you have been having this discussion about traffic and traffic management, and i am a firm believer in getting the information we can to develop a system, what can our universities do now? what is the appropriate role for some of these institutions that could help doing this? dr. holzinger: thank you, senator cantwell. universities have a couple of critical roles in this activity. especially r1 research universities, our activities center around researching fundamental basic research and developing technologies that enable ssa/stm, and approve
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those activities. so, basic and applied research to do those things. another aspect of our endeavor is to train the workforce. that means training masters students, phd students, to perform these activities. anecdotally, i might offer across the country, 300 phd students are graduated in aerospace each year. only a small fraction of those are actually in space. we have heard from one senator that it is difficult to find engineers sufficiently trained in this activity. that is a challenge we face. that relates to our previous activity and research. traditionally, phd students are funded on research for 5, 6 years. continuity of funding for that research is a critical element of that activity. >> what would you think the
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study would look like or what would the degree be called? dr. holzinger: that degree sits squarely in what i would imagine to be aerospace engineering. turns out the university of colorado has a graduate certificate on space awareness that ties together many of these awareness. some are physics-based and some are information terri and control. others tie into human factors, how operators -- information theory and control. others tie into human factors. sen. cantwall: the deputy at nasa, mcelroy, has said this is a situation that is getting dire. we have a lot of commercial activity in the last 10 days. what do you think the commercial space perspective is? on this issue? we have people planning activities. the deputy director is calling
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it, we need a reliable space traffic system. the situation is getting dire. how do you think about where we are with commercial activity and this issue and the urgency of getting --? dr. holzinger: in my opening statement, i will repeat some of the statements. it is inspiring and terrifying, what the commercial space industry is doing. it is inspiring because it is an excellent thing. and excellent avenue to grow our economy and there's a lot of future potential and prosperity we have the potential to reap in the future. it is terrifying in the sense that the current standards and methodologies we use, stem from the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, and have not leverage modern techniques developed over the past couple of decades. so from a university perspective, i think the best
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thing we can do is, improve those means, methods, and techniques, and have much transparency and open information about those activities as possible on the commercial front. sen. cantwall: and identifying the type of technology we need? if we are talking about smaller objects, it is hard to track their telemetry. is that what we need? dr. holzinger: absolutely, elements of that in terms of infrastructure include things like more sensors with better detection thresholds. the ability to collect and fuse that information in close to real-time. the ability to fuse that information also, with current space weather and to be able to issue indications and warnings of potentially deleterious effect. sen. cantwall: thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, madam chair. now we turn it over, remotely, to senator young from indiana.
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sen. young: thank you, chairman. thank you to the entire panel. when i spoke with the minister nelson during his nomination process -- during -- administrator nelson during his nomination we spoke about the gray zone of warfare, a form of combat that lies between the threshold of traditional warfare and areas like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, robotics, and more. according to a recent unclassified threat assessment, numerous countries are attempting to capitalize on these potential vulnerabilities. i will open this to the panel. mr. o'connell, first, i will start with you. what steps can and should the department of commerce and nasa take, to prevent other countries from interfering with or outright attacking our infrastructure in space and perhaps you could touch on
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whether further coronation is necessary with our national security agencies to combat these threats? >> senator, thank you for the question. a dimension of this we have not spoken about previously is the fact that the department of defense wanted to get out of the piece of the mission we have been talking about, the commercial notification, private sector notifications, partly because of the growing security complexity in space. i do not believe the commerce department has any role in combat operations, obviously. but we will obviously have awareness of a variety of activities underway in the private sector, and frankly with our allies as well. during my time at commerce, we enjoyed discussions, not just general, but also technical, with our commonwealth allies, our european allies, japan, and many others, about the importance of the civil space traffic and management system. the extent to which many of these will be looked at in the
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open, may deter people from doing things, such as you speak about, senator. i do not think the commerce department has a role on the military part of that but certainly it is a reason dod wanted to get out of this piece of the mission, namely, to work on space domain awareness as it is referred to. the locational piece we were taking over and commerce certainly fueled their ability to move in that direction and deal with more serious security threats. >> mr. chair, if i could add to the comments of mr. o'connell. one thing that happens when commercial companies are providing space situational awareness for space traffic management to the department of commerce is those systems stand up. in a similar way that imagery systems, commercial imagery systems, kind of provide a full transparency, over and beyond what systems the united states government has provided by and
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operated by the national reconnaissance office, in the same way commercial space situational awareness tape abilities can bring a similar transparency to things going on in space. for instance now, some antisatellite weapons that china and russia are launching, are up there as satellites seen by these commercial ssa systems. and the commercial companies worn on those as they were not others. -- warn on thosew as theyar -- as they warn on others. the same with chinese antisatellite weapons. the commercial ssa systems by their nature bring a transparency that will help with that problem. >> i see. mr. stroup.
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>> sia develop cybersecurity best practices a few years ago. most of our members, commercial and satellite companies, sell to the defense department and coordinate with dod, to make sure they are compliant with dod security, cyber security requirements. it is that industry -- an issue the industry takes very seriously. >> thank you. anyone else? ok, i would note there is a convergence here between your national security assets we have located in space and then, what you might think of as, an extension of our supply chain, our global positioning system satellites, you know, our various other space assets, that
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at a commercial level are needed. this distinction between traditional national security assets on one hand, and commercial assets on another, as we have seen with the shutdown of pipelines here, in the united states, it has not become blurred, it has become a race. we are going to have to tear down the stovepipes and ensure there is better coordination with our national security agencies moving forward. to the extent you have further thoughts moving forward, i would welcome the opportunity to work with any of the panelists. thank you. >> one point on that one point on that, the extent to which supply chain issues arm plays commerce does play a key role. in traditional space companies, larger space companies, there is
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more of a sensitivity to the d orientation toward defense articles, etc.. so there's probably less vulnerability in the supply chain. we found when we look at smaller entrepreneurial companies, that they were more exposed on the supply chain issue. i think the balance will be as we tighten up our supply chains, we need to be careful not to choke off opportunities for american entrepreneurs to leverage friendly country technologies. it is an important issue. >> yes, thank you, point well taken. >> thank you, all, for your presence here today. colorado has500 aerospace -- obviously colorado has 500 aerospace companies and we are just a reflection of how important this is and i think you all have contributed to that recognition this is a significant form of commerce. i think is -- i ink thiss
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the right place where the response ability has to reside. the relationship between government and business, and how we look at best practices versus regulatory frameworks is crucial. i think this committee is open to really hearing clearly, as the workers forward, hearing clearly without slowing down in any way, the process, making sure we respect the sense of urgency you have all brought to the hearing, is crucial. i want to think the ranking member for filling in. i had to go to a vote where there was going to be a tied vote so i could not be a well -- awol. i appreciate your indulgence. the hearing record will remain open two weeks until august 5, 2021. any other senators listening, are welcome to submit questions for the record that witnesses should see, or that they should
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do so bike to like 29th -- or that they should do so by july 29 and we hope your response would be returned to the committee by august 5. we apologize but the sense of urgency pervades. i want to think everyone again for your time and effort. i cannot help but recognize as we talked about the acceleration, of the rate of change in terms of space traffic. it is on highway traffic and i realize this is a very loose analogy. but traffic increases to a certain point and then there is a point where things stop, accidents increase, traffic rates slows dramatically, this is to begin to fall apart. i think about loose sense, this is an analogy we are rapidly approaching that point, where the dramatic increases in traffic will wreak havoc if we
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do not address them now and you're all doing that. thank you, all. with that i bring this hearing to an adjournment. [gavel] [background conversations]
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> >> the white house offices president obama, trump, and now president biden, have been strong in the same areas. they believe in the future of artificial intelligence and self-driving, and these great technologies coming down which will make our lives better. so as much as we say about the white house, a rate hike about the president or the people who do policy and get things done -- are we the last few a ministrations we have had terrific people with consistent policy agenda. >> gary shapiro, president and ceo of consumer technology association talks about online free speech, antitrust, and broadband access, on the communicators, saturday, at 6:30 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the house committee investigating the january 6 attack on the u.s. capitol holds
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this first hearing tuesday. officers from the u.s. capitol police and washington metropolitan police department will tell members what they saw and experienced on that day. watch the hearing life, tuesday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. eastern on c-span three, online at, or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> climate researchers testified before a house sign subcommittee about the impact of certain weather-related events on public health. lawmakers heard about ways to address extreme heat, drought, and flooding, with upgraded infrastructure and emerging technology to more accurately predict weather patterns. this is an hour and half. >> good morning and welcome to today's environment subcommittee hearing to discuss the rising problem of extreme heat in the u.s.. i would like to welcome and thank our esteemed witnesses for participating in a timely and important meeting.


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