The UK Responds To FCC Calls To Clean Up Space Debris

16th Aug 2022
The UK Responds To FCC Calls To Clean Up Space Debris

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently examined New Space issues and the space environment. The FCC urged for the space debris issue to be addressed before space manufacturing increases. The commission demands new regulations be implemented.

The FCC launched an inquiry on 5th August, which evaluated the existing potential for ISAM, In-Space Servicing, Assembly, and Manufacturing. The commission also outlined the need for new regulations due to the increase in space tourism

Debris will “constrain new opportunities”

FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworse stated that they need to promote responsibility and safety, just as they promote space innovation. It is for this reason that their inquiry went beyond space tourism. The commission recognized the possibilities of how ISAM capabilities could result in developing fresh ways of cleaning up orbital debris. 

“After all, there are thousands of metric tons of junk in space that, if left unaddressed, will constrain those new opportunities in the skies above, and ISAM could help improve this environment,” Rosenworse stated.

The UK’s stance on space debris

The UK’s Chief Operating Officer for the Satellite Applications Catapult, Lucy Edge, reflected on the FCC’s findings:

“Space debris poses risk to the sustainable use of space for human spaceflight, astronauts and satellites. As highlighted by the FCC, it is an issue we need to actively address.”

However, Lucy Edge believes that we should not be waiting to manufacture in-orbit. Instead, risks should be managed appropriately now. 

“At the Catapult, we provide access to facilities which simulate in-orbit space conditions and allow for the rigorous testing of new technologies before launching hardware. Cleaner access to space will strengthen the UK’s supply chain and grow new services in the UK space industry.”

We already know that the Fujitsu Centre will create a number of jobs in space debris removal in the UK. However, there is still a lot that needs to be done in this area.

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