Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Capstone-Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Program Name

Space Studies

Capstone Instructor

Dr. Flora Paganelli

Abstract

This study explores the concept of a Global Space Traffic Control as a possible means to enhance the safety of outer space traffic. Space debris, the addition of new spacefaring entities and the ad hoc nature of current space traffic control measures are all factors contributing to the hazardous conditions for space travel today. The space community, writ large, has made strides in improving the safety of space operations by instituting debris mitigation measures. However, these efforts may be too-little-too-late as the debris problem continues to worsen to the point where certain prime orbits may be unusable in the near future. This study consists of a qualitative review of data to provide detail on the current condition of space traffic and future concerns. It also presents a quantitative analysis consisting of a Gap Analysis, which compares the current ad hoc space traffic control process with the proposed Global Space Control Concept. The results of the study reveal the implementation of a Global Space Control could support improved safe space operations in the areas of space situational awareness, command and control, and notification. Also, the study reveals significant challenges dealing with the sharing of proper information to safeguard spacecraft and management of secret military satellites within a transparent structure. These issues will need to be overcome in order for a Global Space Traffic Control concept to be realized.

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