The Department of Commerce (DOC) is working with the space industry to populate a prototype database system to increase companies’ situational awareness of satellites and debris orbiting earth.

This Fall, the DOC plans to begin demonstrations and testing a cloud-based data repository prototype, the Open-Architecture Data Repository (OADR) model. The OADR will ensure the U.S. space industry has situational awareness of orbiting satellites and space “junk” for future missions, along with improved transparency and asset and operational safety.

The repository is being developed to warn satellite operators when their space asset is in danger of coming into close contact with other objects.

Tom Beach, interim chief data office at DOC, said during a recent ACT-IAC event that the DOC Office of Space Commerce (OSC) seeks to apply artificial intelligence technology and sensors to space monitoring efforts, and wants the private sector to build OADR data to bring new services to the government.

“What OSC is not trying to be is the Federal Aviation Administration of space. So, while it will populate the OADR with accurate, timely data, that data is for industry to expand upon and develop services around that it sells back to government,” Beach said.

OSC is currently working with the Departments of Defense and Transportation, and NASA, who all share a keen interest in space traffic management and industry and academia to populate OADR with data.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.