White House space officials have explicitly ruled out international treaties to combat hazards from orbital debris, even as they roll out strategies to revamp U.S. responses to the growing problem. From a report: President Donald Trump on Monday signed a directive formally establishing the Department of Commerce as the lead agency in providing collision-risk data to commercial satellite operators. The order, as expected, also calls for stepped-up efforts to develop voluntary industry standards covering satellite construction, orbit locations, and de-orbit plans -- all intended to reduce collision risks posed by aging satellites and thousands of pieces of debris circling the earth. Mr. Trump said the changes, among others he is championing, aim to ensure that "America will always be first in space" in both military and commercial arenas. The Pentagon will continue to maintain the central catalog of orbiting spacecraft and debris posing potential hazards to U.S. government and private satellites. But commerce department officials will have the authority to pass on that information to the industry, combined with data gathered from private or foreign government sources. Further reading: President Trump Directs Pentagon To Create New 'Space Force' Military Branch.
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