Limited Orbital Environments: Capacity Approaches to Outer Space

20 April 2022
20 April 2022
Online

Addressing challenges of congested orbital environments through objective metrics and threshold-based frameworks 

Report launch event, 20 April 2022 (14.30 – 15.45 CEST), online

The intensification of space activities and the emergence of new actors along with new technological and business concepts (i.e. large constellations, miniaturized systems, etc.) have raised, and continue raising, new challenges to ensure the safety of operations and the long-term sustainability of the space environment.

As these challenges proliferate, new concepts and approaches are being developed and proposed to address the elusive definitions of what “safe” and “sustainable” practices entail. Among these, metric-based approaches aim to indicate the share of the orbital environment used, and promise an objective way forward that could prevent the emergence of a blame-game spiral in inevitable conversations related to the impact of actors on the space environment.

A crucial element enabling these approaches are mathematical models, with the ESA-developed Space Environment Capacity model representing one of the most advanced efforts in calculating Risk Indexes of space missions and the Available Capacity for missions to share within the space environment.

As calls for enhanced frameworks for managing and coordinating the use of orbital environments, namely in LEO, are coming from industry leaders, scientists and policymakers alike, ESPI, in its latest report, explored policy, regulatory and diplomatic perspectives on threshold-based models for space safety & sustainability.

Outcomes of this report will be presented in an upcoming online event, followed by a moderated discussion and a Q&A session on potential implications capacity approaches in outer space would entail.

Speakers (In alphabetical order. This list will continue to be updated prior to the event):

  • Natália Archinard, Deputy Head of the Science, Transport and Space Section, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs
  • David Bertolotti, Director of Institutional and International Affairs, EUTELSAT
  • Ian Christensen, Director of Private Sector Programs, Secure World Foundation
  • Regina Peldszus, Senior Policy Officer, European External Action Service
  • Akhil Rao, Assistant Professor of Economics, Middlebury College
  • Pascal Wauthier, Senior Vice President Space Operations, SES

Links:

Schedule:

  • 14:30 – 14:35 (CEST), Welcome and presentation of the context of the study
  • 14:35 – 14:45 (CEST), Presentation of the Space Environment Capacity Concept (ESA)
  • 14:45 – 15:00 (CEST), Presentation of ESPI’s report “Space Environment Capacity: Policy, regulatory and diplomatic perspectives on threshold-based models for space safety & sustainability” (ESPI)
  • 15:00 – 15:45 (CEST), Moderated discussion and Q&A session

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