Alden Orrery – Regulatory Briefing – November 2023
Regulatory Briefing – November 2023
The Secure World Foundation launches Statement Against Anti-Satellite Testing
On 14 November 2023, the Secure World Foundation (SWF) launched its “Space Industry Statement in Support of International Commitments to Not Conduct Destructive Anti-Satellite Testing” (Statement).
Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Tests directly threaten the safety of space systems and the long-term sustainability of the space environment within which they operate, including the future economic development of low Earth orbit. By building upon previous international commitments, the Statement marks a significant step towards a more secure and sustainable outer space environment for all.
26 space companies have signed the Statement already, and the SWF has opened the Statement to additional signatories, encouraging more companies to help ensure predictability, sustainability, and safety in space.
The full Statement can be read here.
The Global Satellite Operators Association releases Code of Conduct on Space Sustainability
The Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA) released its Code of Conduct on Space Sustainability on 13 November 2023. The Code of Conduct calls on operators to implement responsible practices that mitigate the risk of in-orbit collisions, minimise the threat of non-trackable debris, protect humans in space and limit effects on optical astronomy.
GSOA is a global industry organisation representing over 70 members, with satellite operators in all orbits, launchers, suppliers and partners, providing a unified voice for the satellite industry. With such representation, GSOA hopes the launch of the Code of Conduct will play a key role and drive better behaviours in the area of space sustainability.
The full Code of Conduct can be read here.
European Union (EU)
EU Council Approves EU Space Strategy in Security and Defence
The EU Council approved the first EU Space Strategy for Security and Defence on 13 November 2023 (Strategy).
Welcoming the Strategy, the Council supported its main aims and proposed the following actions:
- increase the EU’s understanding of space threats;
- enhance the resilience and protection of space systems and services;
- better response to space threats; and
- enhance the use of space for security and defence purposes.
Finally, the Council reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to address these challenges in outer space through international cooperation and collaboration, including through possible new space security dialogues.
The full strategy, originally drafted in March 2023, can be read here.
European Space Agency
European Space Agency establishes Zero Debris Charter
ESA has finalised and established its Zero Debris Charter, which was released during the 2023 Space Summit in Seville, Spain.
The Charter calls on signatories, which consist of industry actors, international organisations and individuals to stop generating space debris by 2030, with the aim of fostering a community of proactive actors working collectively to achieve space safety and sustainability with jointly defined measurable targets.
In a statement, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said that “to implement the Zero Debris Charter, ESA will focus on developing ground-breaking technologies for satellite end-of-life disposal, in-orbit servicing and active debris removal. In addition, ESA will work hand-in-hand with institutions in charge of regulatory aspects”.
More than 40 signatories are actively engaged in the open and collaborative development of the Charter. ESA invites other space companies, organisations and individuals to register to sign the Charter. There will be signing ceremonies in the first half of 2024.
The full Charter can be read here.
UK Space Agency partner with Axiom Space for Astronaut Missions
It was announced on 25 October 2023 that the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and Axiom Space have signed an agreement to pursue a commercially sponsored astronaut mission.
The potential future mission would see UK astronauts fly to space, spending up to two weeks on orbit to carry out scientific research, demonstrate new technologies and participate in education and outreach activities. The mission would also build on the UK government’s National Space Strategy and the UK Science and Technology Framework.
The UKSA is currently calling on UK universities, research institutions and industry to share their ideas for experiments and technology demonstrators which could be conducted by the crew on orbit over a two-week period.
UKSA announces £47 million investment into space infrastructure around the UK
The Space Clusters Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) has awarded more than £47 million to 12 space infrastructure related projects, which will be doubled by matched funding from the space sector. This funding represents over £98 million of new private/public investment in space research and development infrastructure by the UKSA.
Not only will the funding support the growth of UK space businesses and create new jobs, but it will also enhance the UK’s offering of space capabilities and services to international investors and major space players.
The Netherlands sign Artemis Accords
The Netherlands became the 31st state to sign the Artemis Accords on 1 November 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.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson stated that “it takes global leadership and cooperation to ensure the peaceful, transparent exploration of space for the Artemis Generation and beyond… as one of America’s oldest allies, NASA is proud to expand our partnership with the Netherlands and build a future defined by limitless opportunity and discovery”.
Iceland signs Artemis Accords
Iceland became the 30th state to sign the Artemis Accords in October 2023. More countries are expected to sign the Artemis Accords in the months and years ahead, as NASA continues to work with its international partners to establish a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space.
Bulgaria signs Artemis accords
Bulgaria became the 32nd state to sign the Artemis Accords on 9 November 2023.
Speaking of the signature, Milena Stoycheva, Bulgaria’s Minister of Innovation and Growth said: “It is a historical moment for Bulgaria to join the Artemis Accords… For years, NASA has been a symbol of aspiration for development through technology and spirit. It is an honour for us to join with our human and artificial intelligence for a peaceful journey into new territories”.
Slovenia formally applies for full membership of ESA
Slovenia presented a formal request for full membership of ESA on 6 November 2023 at the Space Summit 2023 in Seville, Spain.
In recent years, Slovenia has built a promising space sector consisting of more than 40 small and medium-sized enterprises. Slovenia has taken a leading role in certain areas, especially in the field of Earth observation, the development of innovative space technologies, new materials as well as developing three Slovenian satellites. A statement released by the Slovenian Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport states that “Slovenia’s full membership of ESA represents an opportunity to strengthen the importance of the space sector in Slovenia and to increase responsibility for joint European efforts”.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires more satellite operators to mitigate their impact of their satellites on ground based-astronomy
The Senate passes Orbital debris bill
The Senate passed by unanimous consent the Orbital Sustainability Act of 2023 (Orbits Act) on 31 October 2023. The central part of the Orbits Act would direct NASA to establish an active debris removal program and require orbital debris standard practices.
The Orbits Act would also direct the Department of Commerce Office of Space Commerce (OSC) to publish a list of debris that poses the greatest risk to spacecraft. The Orbits Act would also encourage consistent orbital debris regulations by initiating a multi-agency update, and require OSC, with the National Space Council and Federal Communications Commission, to encourage space traffic management practices.
Speaking on the Orbits Act, Senator Cantwell said “The Orbits Act will jumpstart the technology development needed to remove the most dangerous space junk before it knocks out a scientific satellite, threatens a NASA mission, or falls to the ground and hurts someone.”
The White House releases National Spectrum Strategy
The White House released a National Spectrum Strategy on 13 November 2023. The strategy identifies more than 2,700 megahertz of airwaves to study for innovative new uses by both the private sector and federal agencies.
President Biden also released the “Presidential Memorandum on Modernizing United States Spectrum Policy and Establishing a National Spectrum Strategy”, which will promote “efficient and effective spectrum use by both agencies and non-Federal users”. It is hoped that the strategy will foster innovation in the public and private sectors, and ensure that the US remains a world leader in wireless technologies.
Senegal to collaborate with ESA on space technology development
The Senegalese Space Study Agency (ASES) and ESA have formally expressed their intent to collaborate based on a mutual commitment to harness the power of space technology for the socio-economic advancement of Senegal.
The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the EU-AU Space Dialogue in Dakar, Senegal held between 24-26 October 2023,, is expected to pave the way for considerable progress in space technology in Senegal, where it has already proven pivotal in aiding agriculture, environmental monitoring, disaster management and telecommunications within the nation.
Djibouti launches first satellite
Djibouti launched its first satellite into orbit, Djibouti 1A, on 11 November 2023 aboard SpaceX’s Transporter-9.
The Earth observation (EO) nanosatellite will help Djibouti access country-wide, real-time data from climatological and seismic stations. The satellite will also offer decision-makers nationwide relevant high-definition spectral information to enhance farming and related activities.
Australia signs launch agreement with United States (US)
It was announced on 26 October 2023 that the Government of Australia and the Government of the US have signed a technology safeguards agreement (TSA) that could allow American rockets to launch from Australian spaceports. The TSA allows the export of US-built launch vehicles to Australia, providing a legal and technical framework for American launches from Australian facilities while protecting sensitive technologies.
Australia hopes the TSA will help its domestic launch sector and spaceports to grow and to create jobs in developing infrastructure to support the US.
NASCOM awards UKLSL first major spaceport contract
The National Aerospace Services Company (NASCOM) of Oman has awarded the first major contract for its Etlaq spaceport to UK Launch Services Ltd (UKLSL). NASCOM and UKLSL signed the partnership agreement on the 26th of October at the British embassy in Muscat.
Speaking on the partnership, Andy Bradford, founder and CEO of UKLSL said “We would like to thank NASCOM for their confidence in us, and we look forward to working with them to deliver a world-class spaceport for Oman and the Middle East”.
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