24 September 2019 Community news

New global Space Safety Coalition established

​The first-of-its-kind global ad-hoc coalition aims to enhance space safety and sustainability across the sector

A first-of-its-kind global ad hoc coalition dedicated to developing and maintaining a set of "living" space-safety best practices was announced recently at the Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference - AMOS.

The new coalition, the Space Safety Coalition (SSC), is comprised of space operators, space industry associations and space industry stakeholders. SSC aims to lead by example, actively promote responsible space safety through the voluntary adoption of relevant international standards, guidelines, and practices, and the development of more effective space safety guidelines and best practices.

To date, twenty organisations have endorsed the SSC's Best Practices document, including AMOS by Spacecom, Analytical Graphics, Astroscale, AXA XL, Centauri, D-Orbit, Geeks without Frontiers, Hellas-Sat, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Iridium, Loverro Consulting, MAXAR, OneWeb, Planet, Providence Access Company, Secure World Foundation, SES, Space Data Association, Virgin and XTAR. Additional organizations are in the process of endorsing the initiative and more are always welcome to participate.

Entities endorsing this effort agree to promote and strive to implement the SSC's set of aspirational best practices for the long-term sustainability of space operations. The SSC will evolve and maintain these best practices, which generally are applicable to all spacecraft regardless of physical size, orbital regime and constellation size.

These best practices directly address, and in a complementary manner even surpass, existing guidance and standards published by groups such as the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC), the U.N. Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

"This unique effort is a global-first in endorsing the current international set of treaties, guidelines, and standards, to address what spacecraft operators and stakeholders can additionally aspire to accomplish for the long-term sustainability of space operations - exceeding the status quo beyond minimum accepted consensus levels," said Dan Oltrogge, administrator for the SSC.

The SSC and its coalition members will publish, coordinate, and periodically update these best practices in order to keep them well-aligned with responsible space operations and the evolving understanding of the orbital debris environment, to address gaps in space governance and promote better spacecraft design, operations, and disposal practices associated with long-term space operations sustainability.

Participation in the SSC is open to space operators (including governmental or intergovernmental entities), space industry associations and space industry stakeholders. "We welcome entities to join this collective global effort to develop voluntary standards and best practices to enhance space safety and sustainability," Oltrogge said.

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