In January 2010, Space Generation Advisory Council introduced a new working group on Space Safety and Sustainability, following successful projects in the fields of GNSS, Near Earth Objects, and Disaster Management.
Comprising of a team of students and young professionals from both established and emerging space nations, the Space Safety and Sustainability (SSS) working group allows for an international forum to showcase the next generation of space sector leaders’ perspective on issues relating to the safety of space operations and the sustainability of the space environment. Understanding the essential need for a wider awareness among space community of these issues, the Space Safety and Sustainability working group was established to contribute to regulation standards, procedures and organization regarding space safety and sustainability.
Two co-leads of the SSS working group are MinooRathnasabapathy of South Africa, and CJ Nwosa of Nigeria, who has recently been chosen as the new co-chair of the Space Generation Advisory Council. Explaining “As the international space community expands and our reliance on space applications increases, the issues of space safety and sustainability is crucial to future space endeavors,” says MinooRathnasabapathysays about the rationale behind the working group activities. “The SSS working group hopes to create a wider awareness of an international space safety culture, and voice the next generation’s thoughts on this complex issue.”
“The exploitation of the space environment by military, scientific and commercial interests accompanied with the growing presence of space actors has led to the increasing risk of related accidents, loss of valuable space infrastructure and the degradation of the space environment,” CJ Nwosa adds. “Space Safety and Sustainability is therefore a leading concern for the young space generation. The SSS working group will be one of the first international youth forums to stimulate and sustain deliberations on the safety of space operations and the long-term sustainability of the space environment for future generations.”
The Space Safety and Sustainability started its activities by defining three goals to achieve:
- To encourage active participation among students and young professionals in space safety and sustainability related debates and activities.
- To create an international space forum to showcase the perspectives of the next generation of space leaders on the safety and long-term sustainability of outer space activities
- To afford current industry stakeholders access to a pool of young space enthusiasts interested in space safety and sustainability related issues.
These goals will be achieved through meetings, reports, conference presentations, competitions, and outreach projects. The working group has exposed more than 3000 members of Space Generation to the ongoing debates in the field of Space Safety and Sustainability. To further attract the students to the topic, the Space Safety and Sustainability working group created an educational series. The release of these series started with two thematic areas of Space Situational Awareness and Space Weather Effects on Space Missions in April 2012. The educational series presents a comprehensive review of the theme and aims to serve as a point source for information on the current situation, technology, and policy provisions of space sustainability related issues. The documents also aid outreach efforts by providing a comprehensive reference document for people who are new to the field.
The broad range of SSS members’ expertise and industry experience in both technical and policy-based areas of space safety and sustainability, allow the working group to direct and organize projects into four thematic subgroups.
Space Debris subgroup includes activities on detection and mitigation, re-entry risk assessment, and debris removal. The Space Safety subgroup has a primary focus on Spacecraft Risk Assessment, Space Flight and Operational Safety, and System Safety Design. The third subgroup, Space Situational Awareness, explores the Space Traffic Management and Control, and Data Sharing. And finally, the Space Weather Effects subgroup, gathers volunteers around interesting topics related to Natural Atmosphere Effects, Radiation Effects, and Thermal Effects.
The outcomes of the subgroup activities have been presented at various conferences and workshops, such as the 1st IAASS/ISSF Workshop on Creating an Academic Certificate Program in Space Safety and International Space University’s Symposium in 2012.The working group has also contributed to the UN COPUOS Working Group on the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.
In addition to its active volunteers, the SSS working group also comprises of an appointed Advisory Team and partnering organizations, namely, the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) and Analytical Graphics Inc. The 2011 educational alliance with Analytical Graphics Inc. is an opportunity for the SSS working group to expand its technical activities, and work on projects to use the Satellite Tool Kit (STK) for Space Safety and Sustainability applications. The outcome of these technical projects will be presented at IAC 2012 in Naples.
The list of ongoing projects of the SSS working group involves both technical and policy-based projects, including ‘ADR: A multinational policy option’, ‘Modeling debris removal mission’, ‘Novel approaches for data sharing for SSA, ‘The Role of emerging space nations in space safety and sustainability’ and more.
The SSS working group members believe that it is vital that we act now to keep space clean, safe and useable for future generations. The working group calls for students and young professionals to be part of the global efforts to achieve a sustainable future in space.
You can find more information at the Space Safety and Sustainability workgroup website
SSS Working group