US issues NASA patent for space traffic management system architecture

NASA has secured a patent for an initial space traffic management (STM) system architecture from the US government. The development is designed to support the shift from today’s entirely manual system of traffic management to a more coordinated, scalable operation. Scaling has become a major concern as the number of man-made objects continue to increase in space through developments such as launch ride sharing, large-scale satellite deployments and the growth in availability of small launch vehicles.

The architecture forms the framework for an STM ecosystem, which enables the addition of third parties that can identify and fill niches by providing new, useful services. By making the STM functions available as services, the architecture reduces the amount of expertise that must be available internally within a particular organisation, thereby reducing the barriers to operating the space and providing participants with the information necessary to behave responsibly. Operational support for collision avoidance, separation, etc is managed through a decentralized architecture, rather than a single centralized government-administered system.

View the architecture here

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