Alden Orrery – Regulatory Briefing – August 2023
Regulatory Briefing – August 2023
UNIDIR and SWF publish a Lexicon for Outer Space Security
The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) have published the first edition of the “Lexicon for Outer Space Security”.
The Lexicon seeks to serve as an accessible global reference point for terminological issues related to space security. The Lexicon intends to raise the consciousness of the international community on the existence of different interpretations and encourage a more constructive discussion.
Hellmut Lagos Koller, chair of the OEWG, hopes the Lexicon “can significantly contribute to the establishment of that missing common understanding”.
The full Lexicon can be read here.
European Union (EU)
EU and Latin America and Caribbean establish Joint Declaration on a Digital Alliance
The EU and 20 Latin American and Caribbean countries announced the establishment of an EU-LAC Digital Alliance on 17 July 2023.
The Alliance creates a strategic framework to foster future cooperation between all participating states on a wide range of digital issues. In particular, the Alliance will provide a framework for cooperation on space-related activities such as Copernicus Earth observation (EO) data and Galileo/EGNOS satellite navigation applications and services. The Alliance will also explore the EU’s cooperation with the Latin American and Caribbean Space Agency (ALCE).
UK Space Agency (UKSA) announces propulsion research partnership with the University of Michigan
The UKSA announced a partnership between Pulsar Fusion and the University of Michigan on 10 August 2023.
The partnership seeks to develop collaboration on the development of electric propulsion research.
The collaboration will be the first of its kind between the UK and the US on electric propulsion research and will be funded by the first phase of the UKSA’s International Bilateral Fund.
UKSA announces funding for technologies to monitor the Earth
£15 million funding for satellite EO technologies has been made available by the UKSA.
The Earth Observation Technology Programme funding, delivered by the Centre for Earth Observation Instrumentation (CEOI), is the latest in a series of technology development activities the UKSA has issued under its Earth Observation Technology Programme.
The funding follows the UK Government’s National Space Strategy in Action which promised a £15m investment into EO technologies aimed at making the UK a “science superpower”.
Senate Committee Advances Orbital Debris Removal Bill
The Senate Commerce Committee advanced the Orbital Sustainability Act during an executive session on 27 July 2023.
The bill seeks to direct NASA to establish an active debris removal program with the intent to close commercial capability gaps and enable potential future remediation missions for orbital debris.
Speaking at the session, Senator John Hickenlooper, lead sponsor of the bill, remarked that the “bipartisan bill ensures that the United States remains the leader in the responsible and sustainable uses of outer space”.
House of Representatives Defeats Space Safety and Debris Bill
The US House of Representatives defeated the Satellite and Telecommunications Streamlining (SAT Streamlining) Act on 25 July 2023.
The bill sought to streamline the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) satellite spectrum licencing process. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee successfully argued that the space safety and debris provision would harm the commercial space industry.
As addressed in a letter from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, it is hoped that in lieu of the bill which could have given the FCC ‘unprecedented authority’ over space safety and space debris matters, a cohesive approach to orbital debris mitigation efforts will be taken.
India Becomes Fourth Country to Land on the Moon
India’s Chandrayaan-3 landed successfully on the surface of the Moon on 23 August 2023, becoming the first space mission to land near the south pole of the Moon.
India now joins the United States, the former Soviet Union and China in successful Moon landings. The lander and rover carry a number of payload for in-situ science experiments.
After declaring that “India is on the Moon”, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that “This success belongs to all of humanity and it will help Moon missions by other countries in the future”.
Argentina signs Artemis Accords
Argentina became the 28th state to sign the Artemis Accords on 27 July 2023. The Artemis Accords are a US-led initiative to establish a common vision for countries looking to participate in NASA’s 21st century lunar exploration plans.
Daniel Filmus, Argentina’s Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, stated at the signing that he is “convinced that the Artemis Accords constitute a contribution to the development of space activities with peaceful purposes at a global level and that they will increase international cooperation with Argentina”.
Amended General Rules and High Power Rocket Rules come into effect
Amendments to the Space (Launches and Returns) (General) Rules 2019 and Space (Launches and Returns) (High Power Rocket) Rules 2019 came into effect on 17 August 2023.
The changes remove most requirements preventing a suitably qualified expert or person with suitable qualifications and experience from being a related party of the applicant.
Details of the changes can be read here.
Rocket Lab to Launch Climate Change Research Mission
Rocket Lab has announced that it has signed two launch deals with NASA to deliver NASA’s climate change research-focused Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment (PREFIRE) mission to low Earth orbit in May 2024.
NASA’s PREFIRE mission will launch from the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand and will help close a gap in understanding how much of Earth’s heat is lost to space, especially from the Arctic and Antarctica.
Kenya Space Agency and Kenyan Ministry of Defence sign Performance Contract
The Kenya Space Agency signed a Performance Contract with the Kenyan Ministry of Defence on 15 August 2023.
Representatives from the Kenyan Space Agency later shared its commitments and vision of the Ministry and the broader Government objectives on digitisation, support to manufacturing and environmental protection.
Azerbaijan approves new law on space activities
The President of Azerbaijan has recently approved new laws on the country’s space activities. The law will determine the legal, economic and organisational foundations of space activities in Azerbaijan.
Announcing the law’s approval, the Azerbaijani Space Agency, Azercosmos, emphasised that “this intergovernmental agreement helps accelerate the growth of the nation’s activities in outer space, from both an economic and scientific perspective, and also serves as a form of intellectual potential and a material and technical foundation in the space sector”.