The US Department of Defence has signed a new memorandum of understanding with NASA in an effort to bolster security in aerospace .
Space Force General John Raymond and NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine have announced the renewal of a longstanding partnership between the US Department of Defence (DOD) and NASA.
The groups signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday (22 September) at the Air Force Association Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies' Space Power Forum.
The agreement aims to strengthen collaboration in areas including space policy, space transportation, standards, and best practices for safe operations in space, scientific research, and planetary defence.
The new MOU replaces an agreement signed in 2006 between NASA and the US Air Force Space Command, which sought to facilitate the exchange of research and development information and reduce duplication of system development in the organisations’ strategic roadmaps.
According to Bridenstine, the agreement comes as security of the space domain becomes increasingly challenging amid attempts from competitor nations to jam, spoof, hack and attack satellites and communications systems.
"We want to see behaviours improved in space, [and] the Space Force will be an important partner in ensuring space is secure and is used peacefully for the benefit of all of humanity,” he said.
Gen Raymond added that Space Force would defend assets in space including GPS satellites, weather satellites, communications satellites, missile warning satellites, space domain awareness satellites, rockets, and the International Space Station.
He stressed that such assets would be vital to the joint force and are shared with global allies and partners.
Meanwhile, NASA would continue directing science, technology, and exploration missions.
Gen Raymond noted that in addition to collaborating in the space domain, Space Force and NASA would share research and development and science and technology.
The signing of the new MOU comes as NASA prepares to send astronauts to the lunar surface in 2024.
NASA’s mission, which will be supported by Space Force, aims to establish a sustainable presence on the Moon by the end of the decade, which will be used to facilitate humane exploration of Mars.