U.S., Canada sign agreement to share data
on space debris
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[January 11, 2014]
(Reuters) — The United States and
Canada have signed an agreement to share data on orbiting space debris,
asteroids and other hazards to space flight, the U.S. military said on
The agreement, signed on December 26 with Canada's Department of
National Defence, permits an advanced exchange of data, the U.S.
Strategic Command, which oversees the American military's space
operations, said in a statement.
"We were pleased to finalize this data-sharing agreement with
Canada, one of our closest allies. These agreements are mutually
beneficial, provide for greater space flight safety and increase our
national security," said Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic
The agreement streamlines the process for Canada to request specific
information gathered by U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space
Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, the
The information is crucial for space launches, satellite maneuvering
and decommissioning, and other space activities, it said.
Canada joins Japan, Australia and Italy in participating in these
agreements with the United States.
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Scientists estimate there are about 29,000 pieces of man-made space
debris larger than 4 inches orbiting Earth at average speeds of
15,500 miles per hour. At that speed, even small pieces of debris
can damage or destroy spacecraft and satellites.
(Reporting by Eric Beech in Washington;
editing by Leslie Adler)
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