Creating a Sustainable “Space” for All
Waste and debris are not a problem limited to earth. The proliferation of related technology has resulted in the expansion of the global space economy, which has led to the launch of numerous satellites and the establishment of new space businesses. The more these occur, the more the risk of accidents and the amount of space debris, which can damage satellite-powered services such as global telecommunications and also affect the environment by depleting the earth's ozone. The necessity of an international agreement on conducting a space mission compels the World Economic Forum to develop the world's first sustainability rating system for space exploration. Enter SSR: the Space Sustainability Rating.
THE NEED TO FOSTER A SUSTAINABILITY SPACE ENVIRONMENT
The objective of the SSR developed by the Forum and its international partners is to clarify what individual companies and organizations are doing to sustain and improve the health of the near-earth environment. The initiative provides an assessment system based on data sharing, the ability to verify information, choice of orbit, measures taken to avoid collisions, plans to de-orbit satellites upon mission completion, and how well companies are detected and identified. In addition, the rating system helps identify areas for improvement and provides practical and actionable recommendations along the way, contributing to the best practices for the space sector.
WHY THE SPACE SECTOR MUST PARTICIPATE?
While satellites have long been used for navigation services, weather monitoring, and television broadcasts, humanity's reliance on space infrastructure is set to increase even more. As such, the SSR aims to influence behavior by all spaceflight actors, primarily commercial entities, and help bring into common usage the required sustainable practices. By voluntarily taking part in the rating, spacecraft operators, launch service providers, and satellite manufacturers will share a single point of reference externally describing their mission's level of sustainability. The SSR rewards sustainable design and responsible behavior and increases the transparency of organizations' debris mitigation efforts. A favorable score for a rated party might, for example, result in lower insurance costs or improved funding conditions from financial backers.
As we celebrate World Space Week and explore the boundless possibilities of outer space, it is crucial to remember that our activities beyond Earth's atmosphere bear a direct impact on our Planet and our shared future. Space sustainability ensures that humanity can continue to harness the vast potential of outer space for peaceful and socioeconomic purposes while safeguarding the environment both on Earth and beyond.
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