Minoo Rathnasabapathy and Danielle Wood Publish Paper on Emerging Space Nations and Space Sustainability


Acta Astronautica

Acta Astronautica

Dr. Minoo Rathnasabapathy, Maya Slavin and Prof. Danielle Wood recently published "Role of emerging nations in ensuring long-term space sustainability" in Acta Astronautica.  The abstract reads:

"Over the past decade, the number of member states in the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) has risen by 40%. The UNCOPUOS continues to be one of the largest committees in the United Nations, with recent additions representing many emerging space nations including the Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Angola, Guatemala, and Bangladesh, among many others. This paper addresses the role of emerging space nations in updating and refining current policies and norms of behavior related to the long-term sustainability of the space environment. The paper provides examples of the recent implementation of long-term space sustainability design and operational guidelines in the national space strategies of several emerging space nations, highlighting the importance nations give to the development of legal mechanisms to regulate the peaceful use of the space environment. Examples of both national and regional initiatives are presented including Thailand's 2021 Draft National Space Act, aimed at creating a national legal regime and establishing a governmental agency dedicated to developing space policies for the registration of objects launched into outer space and space debris mitigation measures, and the National Space Law Initiative (NSLI) study group consisting of Australia, Indonesia, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam to create a framework that aims to promote information sharing and mutual learning in relation to the participants' respective national regulatory frameworks for long-term space sustainability.

More recently, new initiatives have been developed that celebrate the efforts of satellite mission operators with the aim to reduce the likelihood of space debris and collisions among space objects. The Space Sustainability Rating (SSR) was created by the World Economic Forum, the European Space Agency, the University of Texas at Austin, BryceTech, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is now hosted by the EPFL Space Centre. The SSR is a rating system to assess and recognize missions that are designed to be compatible with sustainable and responsible operations, reducing the potential harm to the orbital environment and the impact on other operators. The SSR comprises six modules aimed at assessing missions for their compatibility with sustainable and responsible operations. This paper specifically focuses on evaluating the Detection, Identification and Tracking (DIT) scores for satellite missions launched by emerging space nations. The DIT module of the SSR serves as a standardized measure for assessing space sustainability. The paper adopts an exploratory multi-case study approach. Through this focused study, the paper identifies barriers and unique challenges emerging space nations face, including experiences of operator organizations, launch options, financial constraints, technical options available, and other relevant factors."

Related Content