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Friends in High Places: Satellite Group, Defense Department Team Up

The Space Data Association will collaborate with the United States Strategic Command on a data-sharing program to ensure the safety and security of satellite operations.

When your organization focuses on an industry need as out of this world as sharing satellite data, you have to pull out the big guns when collaborating with outside groups. More details on an exciting collaboration the Space Data Association has up its sleeve:

About SDA: The association was founded in 2009 to ensure controlled, efficient data sharing among satellite operators. The organization launched with three members—Inmarsat, Intelsat, and SES—but has since grown to include entities such as General Electric’s satellite division, EchoStar Satellite Services (which operates satellites for DISH Network, among others), and several other regional and international industry partners. SDA started the Space Data Center, now run by Analytical Graphics, Inc., which sends out satellite-collision alerts to members.

The new deal: Earlier this month, SDA announced plans to share data with the U.S. Defense Department’s United States Strategic Command, marking the first time that USSTRATCOM has worked with a private-sector organization that isn’t a satellite operator. SDA will participate in USSTRATCOM’s Space Situational Awareness Data Sharing Program. “This agreement represents a major milestone in space situational awareness, creating a framework to exchange data; the benefit is that critical analyses will be far more robust, improving our knowledge of the space operational environment,” SDA Chairman Ron Busch said in a news release. He added that the agreement solidifies “longstanding informal cooperation” between SDA and USSTRATCOM.

Although the Defense Department agreement gives SDA a new relationship at the federal level, other agencies have teamed up with the association in the past. Among them is NASA, which in 2012 struck an agreement with SDA to use its services [PDF].

(iStock/Thinkstock)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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