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RS24 enhances global space domain awareness with partner nations

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Courtney Sebastianelli
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

Dedication to space domain awareness plays a crucial role in maintaining global security and advancing the capabilities of partner nations. Throughout exercise Resolute Sentinel 2024, the U.S. and its allies gathered throughout South America to conduct Space Domain Awareness (SDA) training and collaborate on space operations.

More than 66 combined joint space experts participated in the space portion of RS24 aimed at enhancing interoperability and strengthening partnerships among emerging space powers by leveraging commercial capabilities and fostering open communication. Peru, Colombia, Canada, France, Brazil, Ecuador and the U.S. integrated across multiple hemispheres to enhance integrated deterrence and promote global security.

"Space domain awareness is critical to the fight, because it provides essential near real-time information to the troops on the ground for what space assets they're able to use,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dhruva Poluru, 222d Command and Control Squadron Joint Commercial Operations deputy training and exercise. “For Resolute Sentinel, we are conducting extensive hands-on training for space events that were pre-simulated to prepare participants for real-world scenarios."

Within space operations, there are multiple components, including space launch, and satellite operations and maneuvers. Keeping track of these activities is a key factor in responding to any nefarious actions that might impact satellites and missions.

“Anytime a satellite changes its position or its status, we want to understand the overall space picture,” he said. “We're able to consistently track a satellite from the ground all the way up into space and even while it's in space until the end of its lifecycle. Keeping that awareness over the entire space picture is important; not just for overall awareness, but to also keep tabs on activity that may impact the protect and defend mission for us and allied satellites.”

Throughout RS24, the teams in Colombia, Brazil and Peru conducted 36 hours of operations with commercially available technologies instead of military systems, because the U.S. Space Force's imagery and space tracking tools are not readily available to all partners. The space teams worked with Joint Commercial Operations (JCO) capabilities provided by U.S. Space Command, which increased the team’s ability to conduct space intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations across the globe.

Further partnership with U.S. Southern Command’s Enhanced Domain Awareness enabled the teams to monitor the information in real time, by combining information from JCO and the Unified Data Library into one common operating picture. This allowed for discussion and virtual demonstrations of complex space operations concepts.

“We are learning a lot about the space events like RPO (Rendezvous Proximity Observations),” said Brazilian Air Force Maj. Igor Alves, Space Situational Awareness/ Space Domain Awareness deputy site lead. “The training is simulating events that challenge us to react in real ways. Adapting to new challenges in space operations such as interference and jamming is crucial to ensuring the safety and success of missions. By prioritizing communication and collaboration, we can better navigate these challenges.”

Large Scale Global Exercises, like RS24, provide the opportunity for like-minded partner nations to exercise globally distributed and networked space operations centered around enhancing space domain awareness and space electronic warfare, while promoting international norms and behaviors in space.

To get in that right mindset, participants completed extensive prerequisite courses before arriving at the training locations, where they worked together to get more in-depth, hands-on training tailored to the exercise.

"This preparatory work ensures that all participants had a basic understanding of the topics, allowing us to build on our knowledge more quickly during the exercise," said Poluru about the goal of satisfying 23 space defense learning objectives over the course of six days. "We work with multilingual training staff to effectively communicate with different partner nations, overcoming language barriers and ensuring successful training. Seeing participants from various countries gain new insights and capabilities through our training is incredibly rewarding. It reflects our commitment to fostering collaboration and improving the overall readiness of our allied forces."

As RS24 comes to a close, the work to develop space partnerships is slated to continue. Experts from U.S. European Command and USSOUTHCOM have identified that space partners throughout South America can help construct a future operational space coalition of countries in the Western hemisphere that are closely aligned with NATO through space domain operations for a more safe and secure world.