Space Sustainability In Focus With New UK Measures

27th Jun 2022
Space Sustainability In Focus With New UK Measures

The UK government announced on 23rd June a package of new measures to drive the sustainable use of space. The measures highlight the country’s drive, ambition, and commitment to improving sustainability in orbit.

Science Minister George Freeman unveiled the Plan for Space Sustainability at the 4th Summit for Space Sustainability in London. 

Space Sustainability for the UK

At the summit, the minister declared that the government will work with industry to create a new Space Sustainability Standard. This standard will aim to incentivise businesses to use best practices in terms of sustainability in space. Also, the standard will provide a framework to officially recognise those taking steps to lower their footprint in orbit. 

A regulatory review will be held to incentivise sustainable investment, growth, and practises. In particular, it will enable innovation in technologies, such as In-Orbit Servicing and Manufacturing (IOSM) and Active Debris Removal (ADR).

UK Science Minister George Freeman said the following at the summit, which was held at London’s Science Museum.

“A ‘Wild West’ space race without effective regulation risks a growing crisis of debris in space, adding to the existing threat from 400 redundant satellites and a million pieces of debris.

“To harness space for sustainability, we need an agreed framework of standards for measuring and managing debris, improving satellite repair and retrieval and kite-marking genuinely sustainable supply chains.

“As it was with shipping in the 17th century and cars in the 20th, the key will be regulation which enforces good industry standards and reduces the cost of insurance and finance for a satellite launch which can show it is compliant. With London as a global capital of insurance and venture financing, we have an opportunity to use our historic role in space science to now harness responsible finance for sustainable space.

“That is why today I am announcing our Plan for Space Sustainability, a package of announcements which demonstrates the UK’s commitment to using our regulatory leadership. This plan will ensure a safe and sustainable commercial space sector which rewards responsible satellite programs by lowering the costs of launch licenses and insurance for sustainable satellites and space missions.”

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