Alden Orrery – Regulatory Briefing – February 2023

By Joanne Wheeler | 15 February, 2023 Posted in Articles and Publications

Regulatory Briefing – February 2023


UN Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on space threats holds third session

The third session of the OEWG on reducing space threats through norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour was held from 30 January to 3 February 2023 in the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

At the session, the member states of the OEWG made recommendations on possible norms, rules and principles of responsible behaviour relating to threats by states to space systems, including how they would contribute to the negotiation of legally binding instruments for the prevention of an arms race in outer space.

The OEWG eventually aims to submit a report to the UN General Assembly that includes a set of recommended norms agreed by consensus. The next, and final, meeting of the OEWG will be held on 28 August 2023.

UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) holds 60th Scientific and Technical Subcommittee session

The Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) of UNOOSA is currently meeting in Vienna, Austria for its 60th session. The session facilitates the exchange of views by UNOOSA Member States delegates on topics such as space debris, space-system-based disaster management support, space weather, the long-term sustainability of outer space activities and dark and quiet skies.

The session will conclude on 17 February 2023, after which a final report will be published.

NATO establishes Space Centre of Excellence

15 nations have signed an Operational Memorandum of Understanding for the creation of a NATO Space Centre of Excellence (COE) on 18 January 2023.

The COE will provide NATO and allies with workforce and expertise in the space domain, alongside concept development, standardisation, training and analysis.


European Union (EU)

EU confirms single telecoms market policy

The EU has confirmed its commitment to a single telecoms market policy. This policy aims to promote competition, increase investment and provide EU citizens with access to high-quality and affordable communication services.

The policy will also enhance cybersecurity and data protection, as well as support the development of new and innovative services, such as 5G networks and the Internet of Things.

EU Council Space Working Party releases draft conclusions

The Space Working Party (SWP) of the EU Council has released draft conclusions on the fair and sustainable use of space on 31 January 2023.

Among its conclusions, the SWP recognises that space is a global commons, that low-Earth orbits are rapidly becoming a hazardous area and invites EU Member States to discuss how to exchange best practices on coherent launch licensing processes to harmonise processes within the EU.

United Kingdom

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) publishes new Airspace Modernisation Strategy

The UK CAA has published a new airspace modernisation strategy (AMS) aimed at improving safety, capacity and sustainability in UK airspace.

The strategy aims to modernise the management of air traffic control and the design of flightpaths, making the most of advances in technology. The AMS includes aims to facilitate robust positioning based on satellite navigation for all phases of flight, taking advantage of signals from multiple constellations using global navigation satellite systems (GNSS).

The CAA will work with a range of stakeholders to deliver the strategy’s goal of ensuring that UK airspace remains fit for purpose.

Scotland establishes new space committee

Space industry experts in Scotland have formed the Scotland International Space Advisory Committee (SISAC) to support the growth of Scotland’s space sector. The SISAC will provide guidance to the Scottish government and space industry stakeholders on issues such as regulation, innovation and investment.

The SISAC will oversee the first orbital launches from Scottish soil this year from the SaxaVord Spaceport and Space Hub Sutherland.

UK announces Minister responsible for space

George Freeman has been formally appointed Minister of State in the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and will be responsible for the space portfolio.

George Freeman has been a vocal supporter of the UK space industry, including space sustainability initiatives such as the ‘Kitemark’ announced by the Minister at the Space Sustainability Summit in July 2022.

North America

United States

US Department of Commerce consults on Space Traffic Management

The US Department of Commerce, via the Office of Space Commerce (OSC) in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has requested additional input from

interested parties on the OSC’s currently planned scope of basic safety services to be provided via the Traffic Management System for Space program. This input will inform the OSC’s development of capabilities to share SSA data, information and services to space operators and the public.

As part of the OSC’s work to develop a space traffic management system, the OSC awarded contracts in September 2022 and December 2022 for pilot programs evaluating commercial space object tracking data to inform its future offering.

Reponses can be made here and are due on or before 27 February 2023.

US House of Representatives passes remote sensing bill

The US House of Representatives Science Committee has passed a bill on commercial remote sensing.

The bill, passed 30 January 2023, requires the US Department of Commerce to send an annual report to the US Congress on the status of commercial remote sensing licence applications and related actions and requires NOAA, which handles commercial remote sensing applications, to review applications in 60 days rather than 120 days.


Canada announces commercial launch regulations

The Canadian government has announced plans to establish commercial launch licensing regulations for launches from Canada.

The new regulations will aim to provide a safe environment for commercial launches while also fostering innovation and growth in the Canadian space industry. Officials have not indicated whether new legislation will be required to establish such a licensing framework.



Japan and the US sign Framework Agreement for space

Japan and the US have signed a Framework Agreement for cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space on 13 January 2023.

  • The legally binding Framework Agreement provides, among other provisions, that Japan and the US will:
  • endeavour to avoid interference with lunar sites of historic or scientific value;
  • act consistently with the UN Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines;
  • openly share scientific data from joint activities under this Framework Agreement, pursuant to the implementing arrangements agreed between the parties; and
  • facilitate the entry into, exit from and residence in its territory of personnel and families of personnel engaged in joint activities under the Framework Agreement.

Japanese Prime Minister, Kishida Fumio, has said in a statement that the Framework Agreement is expected to ‘vigorously promote Japan-US space cooperation and expand areas of cooperation for the Japan-US alliance’.


Oman announces new spaceport

Oman is planning to build the Middle East’s first spaceport to serve as a hub for commercial launches and space research. The spaceport will include facilities for rocket and satellite assembly, testing and launch.

The spaceport will be globally accessible and be available for local educational research programmes. The spaceport will complement Oman’s plans to build a space research centre for simulation missions and scientific experimentation.


African Union

African Space Agency formally inaugurated

The African Union Commission and the Egyptian government have signed an agreement to formally inaugurate the African Space Agency (AfSA). The agreement seeks to implement a permanent headquarters for the AfSA in Egypt, aiding the continent’s aspirations to advance the space science technology sector.

The new AfSA will serve as a platform for space research and innovation in Africa, and the signing of the agreement on 25 January 2023 established the general framework regulating the relationship between the African Union Commission and the Egyptian government.



Australia announces Space Regulation Advisory Collective

The Australian Space Agency has announced a new Space Regulation Advisory Collective to be launched in 2023.

The Space Regulation Advisory Collective will establish a network of non-government space sector representatives and other interested parties to inform the regulatory function of the Australian Space Agency.

Interested parties can subscribe to updates by following this link.