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Laying the Groundwork for a Stable and Sustainable Space Environment-U.S. State Department

Monday, April 2nd 2012
By Joe Francica

The following is an excerpt from a presentation by Frank A. Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, in an address to the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research, Space Security Conference, Geneva, Switzerland:

The use of communications satellites to transmit health care data across countries and across the globe is only one of the many uses of space on which we rely. Telephone calls, news reports, television broadcasts, and financial transactions are also relayed through satellites. Financial markets, power grids, and wireless, satellite, cable, and broadcast industries all use GPS satellites for precise timing, and ships, planes, automobiles, and individual people use them for navigation. Meteorological satellites provide weather and environmental forecasts, while remote-sensing satellites provide imagery used in agriculture, resource exploration, land use planning, treaty verification, and disaster relief, amongst other things. Clearly the use of space assets and the information we derive from them permeate almost every aspect of our daily lives. The telehealth scenario I have just mentioned is only one example of how important the utilization of space is, and clearly shows that the loss of space systems, even for a short period of time, can have damaging consequences. Extrapolating from this, we must ask ourselves “What will the consequences be if the space environment were to become unusable?”

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