Major industrial nations have agreed to make space junk a priority to ensure the sustainable use of space in the future. The announcement was hailed as a major milestone by representatives and experts from the commercial aerospace industry at the G7 Leaders Summit in Cornwall, UK, on Sunday (June 13). 4,444 representatives from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union agreed to focus on developing common standards for sustainable operations and space traffic management and coordination.
They also asked other countries to follow the United Nations Long-Term Sustainability Guidelines, which describe best practices for using space.
“There is an urgent need to stabilize global space operations,” Simonetta DiPibo, director of the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, said in a G7 statement. “We must now pursue forward-looking activities to provide a safe, reliable and sustainable space environment for tomorrow. I welcome the clear commitment of the G7 leaders to put space sustainability at the center of the political agenda.”
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Space debris is a growing problem for the international space community. According to data from the European Space Agency (ESA), there are currently approximately 34,000 pieces of space debris larger than 4 inches (10 cm) in orbit around the Earth, and approximately 900,000 pieces of debris between 0.4 and 4 inches (1 at 10 cm). in size AND a staggering 128 million objects between 0.04 and 0.4 inches (1 mm to 1 cm).
Each of these elements collided uncontrollably in space at a speed of 28,000 km / h (17,500 mph), posing a serious safety hazard to normally operating satellites. With the rise of giant constellations like SpaceX’s Starlink, this problem is sure to get worse, ushering tens of thousands of additional satellites into an already chaotic orbital environment.
“Because the orbit of our planet is a fragile and precious environment, and it is increasingly populated, all countries must act together to protect it. We agree to redouble our efforts to ensure the sustainable use of space for the benefit of all nations of humanity, “these countries said in a statement. “We are committed to the safe and sustainable use of space to support humanity’s ambitions now and in the future, and we recognize the growing dangers of space debris and the increasingly populated orbit of the Earth.” Astroscale Holdings, which is developing commercial space debris removal services
Astroscale UK, a British subsidiary of Astroscale UK, commented on the announcement: “We are pleased that space sustainability has received great attention from the G7 leaders.” Astroscale UK Group Chief Commercial Officer and Managing Director John Oban said in a statement. “Space debris is a very real challenge for the government and large constellation satellite companies. To solve this problem, the state must support globally agreed codes of conduct, political leadership and government-private sector partnerships to solve this problem. protect future generations. And start cleaning up today’s space. ”
Tim Peake inaugurated the first commercial deep space antenna as part of the G7 summit. Tim Peake inaugurated the world’s first commercial deep space antenna, located in the Goonhilly earth station complex, also located in Cornwall. The
antenna will support Intuitive Machines, a Texas-based company that develops a lunar exploration lander during its IM1 2022 lunar mission through NASA’s commercial lunar cargo service launch program. The
Goonhilly earth station, once the largest radio communication station in the world, announced that it will upgrade some of its deep-space communications facilities in 2018. A US$11.85 million (£8.4 million) funded by Cornwall and the Islands to upgrade the cooperation between Scily Local Enterprise Partnership, the British Space Agency and ESA, which will support future Mars and Moon missions.
The world’s first commercial deep-space antenna has been launched at the Goonhilly earth station in Cornwall, England.
(Image source: Goonhilly Earth Station)
This antenna has been tested for several months with the Mars Express orbiter of ESA. In this process, the antenna sent the first signals from the British mainland to Mars, and it was also the world’s first signal sent by a private company. Matt Cosby, Chief Technology Officer of the
Goonhilly Earth Station, said in a statement: “Goonhilly has built an incredible team in the past three years to complete the upgrade.” “The project involves antenna modification and replacement of motors in the structure. , Gearboxes and thousands of bolts. The entire function of the communication system has been completely replaced, allowing us to seamlessly connect to the ESA control center, where they can send commands to Mars and receive data from the spacecraft.”