It’s past time for a multilateral agreement on the principles governing space traffic management and sustainability, writes Jennifer A. Manner.
As the Biden administration looks to rejoin international initiatives and reemphasize major global initiatives, it is critical that the incoming administration recognizes and recommits to the role that space technology plays in these efforts.
With satellite operators doing a poor job complying with guidelines to deorbit their satellites, incentives or even regulation may be inevitable to address concerns about orbital debris and satellite collisions.
ESA said Sept. 2 it maneuvered one of its Earth science satellites to avoid a potential collision with a SpaceX Starlink satellite, the first time the agency said it’s had to maneuver to avoid a satellite associated with a broadband megaconstellation.
The failure of at least five percent of the first batch of SpaceX Starlink satellites has put a spotlight on the growing concerns that satellite megaconstellations could litter low Earth orbit with hundreds of dead satellites.
The approval of set of space sustainability guidelines by a United Nations committee has been widely endorsed by the global space community, even while questions remain on how those guidelines can be turned into more binding rules.
The World Economic Forum has selected a consortium of companies, universities and agencies to develop a system to rate the sustainability of space systems, one that its backers hope will encourage good behavior in space.