Extending Cooperative Stratospheric Operations to Space

March 2020
Topics: Collaborative Decision Making, Space Operations, Air Traffic Management
Andy Anderegg, The MITRE Corporation
Jennifer Gentry, The MITRE Corporation
Max Fenkell, Aerospace Industries Association
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The Karman line marks the extent of feasible air travel and is a presumed boundary between ICAO and UNOOSA authority. Though the stratosphere is not consistently regulated around the globe, the risk of collision between aircraft, sub-orbital space flights, and vertical space launch operations occurs largely in this airspace. While notice is made of space activity, there is not follow up to ensure the stratosphere is free of aircraft at the time of space activities. In developing a surface-to-space architecture, that links on-orbit activity back to pre-launch and transition through congested airspace, MITRE and the Aerospace Industries Association realized a potential solution to address the gap in governance for high-altitude airspace.

This paper presents principles for cooperative stratospheric operation and relates them to the contested nature of operations and controls for managing risks in low earth orbit operations. It defines how surface-to-space traffic management uses cooperative operations to manage acceptable risk for parties with different risk appetites.


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