Oct. 19 (UPI) -- NATO is expanding its defense alliance to space, and is expected to announce construction of a "space center" at Ramstein, Germany, this week.
The new facility will be affiliated with the NATO air command center at Ramstein, and will be used as a coordination point for surveillance in space, the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung said on Monday.
The space center would serve as a hub for information about possible threats to any NATO member.
"This will be a focal point for ensuring space support to NATO operations, sharing information and coordinating our activities," a NATO official told Stars and Stripes.
About half of the 2,000 satellites currently in earth orbit are owned by NATO members. The action follows a 2019 NATO decision declaring space as a separate area of operations while acknowledging that space is of crucial importance for early warning systems and communication and navigation information.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in 2019 that NATO "has no intention of stationing weapons in space, but we have to ensure that our missions and operations have the appropriate support."
An official announcement is expected after military chiefs from the 30 NATO member nations review the plan later this week during a virtual two-day meeting beginning on Thursday.