Air Force Safety Center hosts 2023 Space Safety Council

  • Published
  • By AFSEC Public Affairs
  • Air Force Safety Center

The second annual Department of the Air Force Space Safety Council was held in Colorado Springs from August 15-17, 2023. The Council meets twice a year to discuss items pertinent to the development of Space Safety policy, mishap prevention, the conduct of investigations, and implementation of the Air Force Safety Management System.

Space Safety professionals from all three U.S. Space Force Field Commands were present at the three-day council.  The event’s theme was orbital operations and covered topics such as collaborative efforts between key stakeholders and industry experts to advance space safety, space debris and disposal rules for cislunar operations, and lessons learned throughout the space safety enterprise.

Brig. Gen. Sean Choquette, DAF chief of safety and commander of the Air Force Safety Center, kicked off the Council, by addressing Airmen and Guardians, as well as mission partners from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board.

"Space Safety is the functional area of safety growing at the quickest rate right now,” said Choquette. “It’s expanding in scope and complexity due to the increased mission, roles, authorities, responsibilities, and the growth in operations across the enterprise."

Choquette also highlighted the importance of the Space Safety Council.

"The bottom line is that Space Safety is the ultimate team sport,” said Choquette. “It's going to require cooperation across commercial enterprise, industry, partner nations, and our joint military team. Councils like this are crucial in promoting and understanding our collective Space Safety responsibilities."

The agenda also included two tours to provide attendees insight into the developments of operational and academic research programs. The first tour was to the U.S. Air Force Academy FalconSAT program, which provides cadets an opportunity to design, analyze, build, test and operate small satellites to conduct Department of Defense space missions.

The second tour was to the 2nd Space Operations Squadron and the 4th Space Operations Squadron. The 2nd SOPS performs the command-and-control mission for the Global Positioning System satellite constellation. GPS is the world's premiere space-based position, navigation and timing system, capable of providing information simultaneously to an unlimited number of properly equipped users.

The 4th SOPS’ mission is to operate the U.S. Space Force's wideband Military Satellite Communications systems. They provide warfighters global, secure, survivable, strategic and tactical communication during peacetime and throughout the full spectrum of conflict.

Dr. Mark “Nitro” Glissman, chief, AFSEC Space Safety division and SpSC Chair, emphasized the importance of safety policy to keeping pace with the speed of operations.

“Safety plays an important role in ensuring the Air and Space Forces are risk-aware and that our Airmen and Guardians make risk-informed decisions to optimize mission success,” Glissman said. “The time is now to evolve Space Safety to meet the needs of DoD space operations.”