Astroscale Ltd. (“Astroscale UK”), the UK subsidiary of Astroscale Holdings Inc. (“Astroscale”) announces their support for the G7 Leaders’ Summit joint statement yesterday on space sustainability.
G7 delegates from the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the EU released a joint statement yesterday from Carbis Bay, Cornwall, UK, pledging to take action to tackle space debris as our orbital environment becomes dangerously congested.
Astroscale UK’s Managing Director and Group Chief Commercial Officer, John Auburn responds: “We’re delighted that space sustainability is receiving high level attention with G7 leaders. Space debris is a very real challenge for governments and large constellation satellite companies, to tackle the problem requires national support for globally agreed norms of behaviour, political leadership and partnership between the private sector and governments to protect space for future generations and start cleaning up space now.”
UK Science Minister, Amanda Solloway said in the UK government G7 announcement, “Space enables services that we rely on every single day, from communicating with our loved ones to tracking the effects of climate change. Each nation must unite to strengthen our efforts to ensure its continued use is safe, sustainable and serves everybody.”
Astroscale worked with partners Satellite Applications Catapult and Fairspace to develop their latest industry analysis estimating the in-orbit servicing market could be worth an estimated $1 billion for UK industry by 2030. The findings commissioned by UK Space Agency entitled ‘UK In-Orbit Servicing Capability – A Platform for Growth’ was supported by UKspace industry partners. The report highlights a number of growth opportunities including a UK active debris removal mission, recently announced as a funding opportunity through the UK Space Agency’s Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) programme.
Together the G7 partners published a joint statement highlighting their commitment to the safe and sustainable use of space to support humanity’s ambitions now and in the future.
Astroscale, Founder & CEO, and Vice President of the International Aeronautical Federation, Nobu Okada adds: “Yesterday’s G7 joint statement recognises the urgent need for debris removal and in-orbit servicing activities to protect our orbital environment as an international asset. Global cooperation amongst all stakeholders is critical to turn international guidelines into common practice and commercially viable services. Our ELSA-d mission will demonstrate the technology to dock and remove space debris this year and we embrace the opportunity to work in partnership with space-faring governments and industry going forward.”
The growth in larger satellite constellations presents tremendous opportunity for global connectivity and growth, but also environmental concern if congested orbits remain unmanaged. Latest figures from the European Space Agency suggest there are over 128 million debris objects in space larger than 1mm, including the most hazardous objects such as defunct satellites and upper stage rockets.
The UK government is showing great leadership in supporting in-orbit servicing including UK Research and Innovation’s funding for a joint Astroscale programme to develop the National In-orbit Servicing Control Centre at the Satellite Applications Catapult. This control centre is being used by Astroscale to control the ELSA-d mission preparing for debris removal demonstrations this year.
Astroscale’s international offices are developing numerous services that respond to the challenge of space sustainability, in addition to Astroscale UK’s efforts to provide commercial end-of-life services to decommission smaller satellites in low Earth Orbit, Astroscale Japan is developing the technology to remove larger objects, such as the JAXA-led the active debris removal inspection mission ADRAS-J. The Astroscale USA and Israel teams are building the capability and technology to extend the life of larger satellites, located in geostationary-orbit, with services such as refuelling (LEXI).