NASA has published the Spacecraft Conjunction Assessment and Collision Avoidance Best Practices Handbook to provide insight on best practices for coordinating in-orbit activity safely, the agency reported on Tuesday. The approaches outlined in the handbook are voluntary and will evolve to address new technologies and operations.
“Now is the time for all space operators to leverage innovative commercially available space situational awareness data, information, and analysis to mitigate the potential for in-orbit collisions and sustain key orbital regimes,” said NASA administrator and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient Jim Bridenstine.
NASA’s recent handbook will help increase stability, reduce operational risks and support the space environment for future missions. The handbook has analyzed how NASA currently operates in space, including the maneuverability, tracking, reliability, and disposal of space hardware.
The agency’s report has also highlighted space vehicle and constellation design, spacecraft trackability, pre launch preparation and early launch activities, in-orbit collision avoidance and automated trajectory guidance and maneuvering.
The handbook encourages consideration of commercially available space situational awareness data and information to improve and enhance existing capabilities, as well as seeks to highlight innovative opportunities for U.S. commercial and non-profit space situational awareness data and space traffic management services.
NASA developed the handbook to support Space Policy Directive-3, the National Space Traffic Management Policy, in close collaboration with the U.S. Space Command. NASA also leveraged input from other interagency partners and will consult with industry associations and the agency’s advisory committees on the content.