The Department of Defense has started to declassify space traffic data as part of the U.S. government’s effort to advance space commercialization and safety, Popular Mechanics reported Thursday.
“This is us being transparent, leaning forward and trying to enhance that spaceflight safety through data sharing,” Col. Scott Brodeur, director of the Combined Space Operation Center, told the publication.
Diana McKissock, head of space situational awareness sharing at the 18th space control squadron, said the government recently declassified two-line element sets for at least 500 man-made space objects with plans to release more data.
Those objects are part of a catalog that DoD manages and can be publicly accessed through the space-track.org website.
TLEs work to encode the probable orbital movement and position of a space object.
McKissock said the U.S. needs to expand its space traffic management initiative as more companies send satellites into space.
“We're looking forward to working with our civil counterparts on how we can better support the global community as space becomes more contested and congested,” McKissock noted.
Officials at U.S. Strategic Command said the declassification move aligns with the Space Policy Directive-3, which directs the Department of Commerce to publicly disclose space traffic information.