UK Pushes For Space Insurance Market30th Jan 2023
As orbits around Earth fill up, the likelihood of dangerous incidents is growing. Space and Science Minister George Freeman, MP, led a roundtable meeting at Lloyds of London on 26th January to address such issues and to launch a kitemark program to improve safety in orbit. A space insurance market is vital for protecting the industry, Freeman insists.
Kitemark for the space insurance market
Minister Freeman announced the launch of a kitemark program for space insurance market. The kitemark, he said, fits with the UK’s drive for a greater presence in the small satellite market. Being insured, he believes, will help differentiate British offerings.
The market, he said, was ripening for this kind of program. For example, of the 7,000 satellites currently in orbit, only 300 are insured. Another 200,000 satellites are expected in the upcoming 10-15 years.
The problem of how to calculate policies in the space insurance market is compounded by not knowing exactly how much material is in a particular orbit and how much the orbit can absorb. The issue has attracted the attention of scientists such as Dr. Massimiliano Vasili, who Orbital Today interviewed on the matter. By moving from statistical models to data-driven measures, insurance companies will be better able to accurately gauge risk, and thus premiums. Likewise, satellite operators will be better placed to determine the relative safety of a given orbit for their satellites. Launch services providers will benefit as well.
Case in point
LeoLabs announced on 27th January that on the same day, two pieces of space junk nearly collided. The two items, left over from the Soviet Union’s space program, missed each other by 18-150 feet.
A collision would have had tremendous implications, as the resulting debris would have been a hazard to hundreds of satellites in Low Earth Orbit.