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Space Environment Capacity

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.

Taking stock of the ESA-developed Space Environment Capacity Concept, ESPI explored policy, regulatory and diplomatic perspectives on threshold-based models for space safety & sustainability.

The report discusses how metric-based approaches to the orbital environment can foster the development of fact-based discussions on sustainability and safety of operations.

Through case studies and outcomes of an extensive consultation campaign, the report informs on the considerations, implications and drivers for addressing the space environment through a capacity approach, focusing on:

  • The adequacy of the existing framework for space safety and sustainability;
  • The relevance & effectiveness of capacity and threshold-based models for the space environment;
  • The feasibility of capacity and threshold-based models for the space environment;
  • The role of public actors with regard to metric-based models and definitions of capacity;
  • The future evolution and next steps for metric-based approaches to the space environment.

Recognizing the value of the capacity approaches in addressing safety and sustainability concerns in outer space, the report identifies the need to further mature and elaborate the approach by driving sustained activities through both scientific & technical dimensions and policy & diplomatic dimensions.

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