“As long as the U.S. military continues to use these two legacy IT systems, it will face severe restrictions on the number of space objects it can catalog and track, the speed and accuracy of calculations to determine potential on-orbit collisions and warn satellite operators, its capability to share SSA data with partners and allies and ingest outside data, and its ability to take full advantage of the billions of dollars in new SSA sensors that will be coming online in the next few years,” he writes.
A new Space Fence—two to three S-band radar sites for improved SSA—is slated to be fielded starting in 2015 at the earliest; the Air Force took over the program from the Navy in 2004. And in 2010 the Air Force lofted the Space Based Space Surveillance electro-optical satellite designed specifically to spy on other orbiting satellites, principally in the crowded geosynchronous belt.
These are two of the new sensing capabilities that are being and will be hampered by inadequate information technology systems at the JSPOC, Weeden says.
However, there is pressure to reduce defense spending. The Air Force Space Command has struggled to keep funding in place for SSA activities as it has had to address bloated satellite pricing for its primary missions in the last decade.