1 October 2011. ESPI was invited to moderate the Space Debris Mitigation and Removal working group session at the 10th Annual Space Generation Congress (SGC) held between 29 September and 1 October in Cape Town, South Africa.

ESPI’s Resident Fellow Jana Robinson was invited to moderate an industry working group session entitled “The Political and Technological Challenges of Space Debris Mitigation and Removal” at the 10th Annual Space Generation Congress (SGC). The SGC is the annual conference of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) held in conjunction with the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). The SGC was attended by over one hundred university students and young professionals selected from the Space Generation international network. The Congress attracted distinguished professionals from the global space community as the conference speakers, including Charles Bolden, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); Berndt Feuerbacher, President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF); Steve MacLean, President of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA); Sandile Malinga, CEO of the South African National Space Agency (SANSA); S.O. Mohammed, Director General, Nigeria's National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA); Dumitru Prunariu, Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS); and Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

The working group sessions, divided into five themes (i.e. industry, agency, society, exploration and outreach), are one of the main features of the SGC. The industry working group reviewed the key space debris-related challenges, as well as possible future actions addressing effective debris mitigation and remediation. Specifically, the group reviewed the principal risks posed by orbital space debris to space activities; examined future international governance of space situational awareness (SSA) in support of managing space debris; and explored means to strengthen further the existing mitigation measures and procedures, including employing policy tools such as the draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities and transparency and confidence-building measures (TCBMs). Finally, the group scrutinized proposed active debris removal (ADR) technologies, as well as the legal and policy challenges related to ADR. The preliminary conclusions of the working group were presented to all SGC delegates on the last day of the Congress (1 October 2011). The results and recommendations will be published in the SGC Industry Report to be released later this year.

During the working group session

ESPI and the SGAC, headed by its Executive Director Ariane Cornell, have long maintained a close institutional relationship. The SGAC, an organization created at the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Space (UNISPACE III) in Vienna in 1999 to promote the interest of young students and professionals in space-related issues, has been located at ESPI premises since 2006.

Jana Robinson with SGAC’s Executive Director Ariane Cornell

Participants of the 10th Space Generation Congress

- SGC 2011 Schedule










Photo credit: ESPI

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