Published: July 22, 2021 By
Marcus Holzinger

“Exponential commercial utilization of space is simultaneously inspiring and terrifying.”

Marcus Holzinger has addressed the U.S. Congress on space situational awareness and space traffic management.

It is a subject with increasing importance as more nations and commercial businesses launch satellites into orbit around our planet.

Holzinger, an associate professor in the Ann and H.J. Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences and a Smead Faculty Fellow testified Thursday before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Space and Science.

The hearing, titled “Space Situational Awareness, Space Traffic Management, and Orbital Debris: Examining Solutions for Emerging Threats”, was a chance for senators to hear from experts in space domain awareness.

Holzinger's research focuses on theoretical and empirical aspects of space domain awareness. He is the author or co-author over 100 conference and journal papers.

“Our present situation is much like being in heavy traffic without a sense of right of way,” Holzinger said. “We stand at a thrilling precipice. Ahead there are countless opportunities near the Earth, Moon, and beyond that promise economic prosperity, innovation, and rules based international leadership.”

Much of Holzinger’s comments focused on the importance of U.S. leadership in developing “rules of the road” for use of orbital space to avoid collisions and overly cluttered orbits that become difficult to navigate.

“Fundamentally it is a national interest for us to lead this effort and to gain as much consensus amongst the international constituency as possible,” he said.

The hearing, held in Washington D.C., was also broadcast live online. An archived webcast is available on the subcommittee website.

Five speakers, including Holzinger, addressed the committee. Other witnesses included Karina Drees, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, Kevin O’Connell, Founder and CEO of Space Economy Rising LLC, Paul Graziani, Chief Executive Officer of COMSPOC Corp, and Tom Stroup, President of the Satellite Industry Association.