UK Government Announces Package of New Measures to Drive Space Sustainability

The scales of the space debris problem (Credit: ESA)

The new measures will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.

  • Science Minister George Freeman announces new Plan for Space Sustainability to demonstrate UK leadership in sustainable space, in line with ambitions set out in the National Space Strategy
  • UK industry will work in partnership with government to develop a new Space Sustainability Standard, which will incentivise companies to adopt best practice
  • government will also review the regulatory framework, including exploring ways of lowering insurance costs for sustainable missions

LONDON (UK Government PR) — Science Minister George Freeman has today (Thursday 23 June) launched a new Plan for Space Sustainability, a raft of measures which will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.

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UNOOSA and European Space Agency Open Opportunity to Conduct Hypergravity Experiments in a Ground-based Centrifuge

VIENNA (United Nations Information Service) — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are opening up the Large Diameter Centrifuge (LDC) facility at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, to UN Member States. Under the joint HyperGES fellowship, student teams supported by scientists and researchers are invited to conduct experiments in controlled hypergravity conditions. Applications must be submitted by 18 November 2022.

The HyperGES programme is part of the “Access to Space for All” initiative enabling teams of students from all over the world, with particular attention to developing countries, to conduct experiments in controlled hypergravity conditions between 1g-20g with different experiment scenarios, duration, and equipment. 

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KiboCUBE: Teams from Mexico and Tunisia Selected for Sixth Round

National Research & Development Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

TOKYO — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) cooperate under the KiboCUBE program launched in 2015 to provide developing countries with opportunities to deploy CubeSats from the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” of the International Space Station (ISS).

JAXA and UNOOSA have selected teams from the Popular Autonomous University of the State of Puebla (UPAEP) of Mexico and the Private Higher School of Engineering and Applied Technology (ESPITA) of Tunisia for the sixth round of KiboCUBE program, which was open for applications from December 20, 2020 through May 31, 2021.

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UNOOSA and United Kingdom Sign Agreement to Map Global Space-related Climate Action Efforts

VIENNA, 21 December 2021 (UN Information Service PR) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement to address the information gap for space-related climate actions. The scientific community and the United Nations (UN) system have long recognized and utilized space-based technologies, data and applications as essential components in climate change research, monitoring, and policy enactment. However, a comprehensive overview of the broad spectrum of current and planned activities in using space for climate action has been missing.

Through this new partnership, the UN and the United Kingdom strive to address this information gap and build synergies, facilitate coherence, and contribute to avoiding duplication of existing efforts. With a Strategic Mapping Exercise, the core of the mutual work, the two parties are going to review existing activities at the international and regional levels, in the UN system, for non-UN groups, partnerships, organizations and other relevant entities.

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Read Complaint About How China’s Space Station Had to Avoid Collisions with SpaceX’s Starlink Satellites

Sixty Starlink satellites separate from a Falcon 9 second stage on April 22, 2020. (Credit: SpaceX website)

United Nations General Assembly
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space

A/AC.105/1262
Distr.: General
6 December 2021
English
Original: Chinese

Information furnished in conformity with the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies

Note verbale dated 3 December 2021 from the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations (Vienna) addressed to the Secretary-General

The Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations (Vienna) presents its compliments to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and has the honour to refer to article V of the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies 1 (the Outer Space Treaty), which provides that “States Parties to the Treaty shall immediately inform the other States Parties to the Treaty or the Secretary-General of the United Nations of any phenomena they discover in outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, which could constitute a danger to the life or health of astronauts”. In accordance with the above-mentioned article, China hereby informs the Secretary-General of the following phenomena which constituted dangers to the life or health of astronauts aboard the China Space Station.

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When Debris Disaster Strikes in Earth Orbit

Credit: ESA

In brief

PARIS (ESA PR) — In 2021 so far, some 2467 new objects large enough to be tracked have been added to world catalogues of orbital objects, out of which 1493 are new satellites and the rest are debris. While new objects are added, others are dragged down to Earth by the atmosphere where they safely burn up, resulting in a net increase of at least 1387 trackable objects between 2020 and 2021.

In addition, an estimated 1500 new objects – an increase of about 5% with respect to the total population – were added just this week, meaning the risk to missions must be reassessed.

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UK and UN Join Forces in Using Space Tech to Tackle Climate Change

GLASGOW, Scotland (UK Space Agency PR) — A new project to map existing work to tackle climate action through the use of space technology and identify what more could be done has been launched by the UK Space Agency and the United Nations at COP26.

The government’s National Space Strategy, which was unveiled in September, set out an ambition for the UK to be a leader on using space for climate action. Now, the UK Space Agency will work with the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) on a new review of existing activity on climate action through the use of space technologies.

The aim is to develop a strategic view of climate activities being carried out in space on a scale that has never been done before and, through this, increase policy coherence across the multilateral system and relevant international organisations.

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UNOOSA and MBRSC Sign a Memorandum of Understanding for Satellite Payload Hosting

VIENNA, 28 October (UN Information Service) – The capacity-building portfolio under the Access to Space for All Initiative of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) is expanding. UNOOSA and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote technical development and cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.

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Report Calls for Immediate Actions to Address Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy, Environment

A wide-field image (2.2 degrees across) from the Dark Energy Camera on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-m telescope at the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory, taken on 18 November 2019. Several Starlink satellites crossed the field of view. (Credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/DECam DELVE Survey)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new report recommends “immediate, well-funded, comprehensive, and collaborative work” to implement a series of measures to mitigate the negative impacts that large satellite constellations on ground-based astronomy.

The report, whose executive summary was published last week, includes 10 recommendations for observatories and constellation operators that include the development of software to identify and mask satellite trails and designs changes to lessen the reflectivity of satellites. (The full list of recommendations are below.)

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Growing Number of Satellites Contribute Significant Light Pollution to Night Skies

Trails caused by the fifth deployment of satellites making up the Starlink constellation. (Credit: Andreas Möller)

LONDON (Royal Astronomical Society PR) — Scientists reported new research results today suggesting that artificial objects in orbit around the Earth are brightening night skies on our planet significantly more than previously understood.

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UK Space Sector Receives £1 Million Government Boost to Support International Innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Five new projects have been awarded a share of over £1 million [$1.38 million] of government funding to work with international partners on innovative space technology.

Projects to remotely probe ice on Mars to help explorers find life below the surface, a system to warn of impacts of flood risks to infrastructure based on research in India and a scheme to design UK imaging technology for a space telescope are among the new international initiatives to receive backing from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP).

The funding will see UK companies and organisations working with partners such as NASA, and space agencies from Canada, Japan and Italy. NSIP is the first fund dedicated to supporting the UK space sector’s innovation through collaborations with international partners designed to contribute to UK science, security and prosperity.

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Samantha Bee Looks at Space Junk & the Kessler Syndrome

Video Caption: While we’ve been so focused on separating our cardboard and plastic down on Earth, waste, abandoned satellites, and other man made debris have been accumulating in space. If we want to continue our progress in space and maintain our technology, it’s time for a major cleanup! Watch Full Frontal with Samantha Bee all new Wednesdays at 10:30/ 9:30c on TBS!

JAXA Selects Central American Team for KiobCUBE Fifth Round, Extends Program with UNOOSA for Sixth Round

Successful deployment of 1KUNS-PF (Kenyan Satellite, selected as first round of KiboCUBE) from Kibo in May, 2018. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) cooperate under the KiboCUBE program launched in 2015 to provide developing countries with opportunities to deploy CubeSats from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Kibo of the International Space Station (ISS).

JAXA and OOSA have selected a team from the Central American Integration System (SICA), for the fifth round of KiboCUBE program, which called for applications from March 26, 2019 to September 30, 2019. It is the first time to select international organization in this program.

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NASA, UN Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Peaceful Uses of Space

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging cooperation in areas of science and technology to support the peaceful use of outer space.

The MOU, signed Thursday, Dec. 17, brings together NASA’s wealth of publicly available Earth observation data and dynamic exploration opportunities with UNOOSA’s unique position as the only U.N. entity dedicated to outer space affairs.

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