Space Traffic Management
November 2, 2022

The Space Traffic Management Dinner Debate will be held on the 9th of November and is part of Friends of Europe’s Making Space Matter initiative, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).

The race to space globally is crowding our planet’s orbit. Lower thresholds to enter the space means that more actors than ever before are competing to put their satellites into orbit. Private sector players, such as Bezos and Musk, are leading the way. In the absence of the ‘rules of the road’ in outer space, the congestion of space threatens the viability of infrastructure and operations. This is significant considering the security challenges and global geopolitical tensions that characterise the space race: the creation of space forces in China and the United States are two cases in point. Despite signs of political cooperation, notably between China and Europe, the default position in space is to protect national interests in an environment that is fundamentally uncertain and unpredictable. The overcrowding of space gives little room for errors and miscalculations, which in such a high-stake geopolitical context, can quickly escalate into open conflict.

In addition to the thousands of satellites operating under the watch of nation states, private companies and citizens, there are now over a million debris of at least 1cm orbiting around the Earth and threatening to damage space infrastructures and equipment.

The key role of the involvement of several actors like the Member States, significant stakeholders and close coordination between national and international government and commercial entities from the outset will support this path, concluding to an advanced policy framework, which is developing very slowly.

To this end, there is a need for a coherent set of technical and regulatory provisions that will ensure that the access, the activities and the return outer space are safe and sustainable. 

Following the first Making Space Matter Summit, this invite-only dinner debate will look more closely at the importance of urgently tackling STM and the role that the EU plays at a global level.

Please see more information here

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