U.S.-Israeli security cooperation is now expanding to space: The two countries recently signed an agreement to cooperate on tracking moving objects in space, whether man-made or otherwise, in order to prevent collisions.
By signing the agreement, Israel has joined a more comprehensive American-led process under which countries with space capabilities cooperate to ensure that space-based activities can take place safely and sustainably. The countries already working with the United States on this issue include Britain, South Korea, France, Canada, Italy, Japan, Australia, and Germany. The European Space Agency is also involved in the project.
The goal is to improve information about the movement of objects in space for all the countries concerned, and thereby increase the safety of satellites, which are vital for daily life in fields such as communications, navigation and weather forecasting.
In recent years, the number of satellites launched into space has steadily risen with each passing year, as has the number of both governmental and private actors that own satellites. As a result, near-earth orbits have become increasingly crowded. This makes continuous and effective tracking of objects moving through space essential.
Each country does its own monitoring, but by sharing information, they hope to be able to provide more accurate warnings of potential collisions. Such information is particularly essential when launching a satellite or maneuvering it in orbit, and also when there are electromagnetic disturbances.
The agreement was signed by the Defense Ministry’s Space Directorate on Israel’s behalf and the U.S. Army’s Strategic Command on America’s behalf.
“This agreement places Israel on a par with the countries that see themselves as partners in ensuring global stability and security, and it will contribute to Israel’s national security,” said Brig. Gen. (res.) Amnon Harari, head of the Space Directorate.
Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, said that everyone has an interest in increasing transparency and thereby ensuring that space-based activities are safe, stable and sustainable over time.