Net Zero Space Declaration Announced at 4th Annual Paris Peace Forum

Posted November 12th, 2021 Posted in News

The Net Zero Space initiative was released today during the 4th edition of the Paris Peace Forum with Astroscale signing on as an official supporter. The declaration calls for all stakeholders to support “the sustainable use of outer space for the benefit of all humankind by 2030 by taking concrete actions so as to tackle the pressing challenge of reducing debris orbiting Earth.” It recommends urgent action from 2021 onwards to rapidly contain and then reduce the ongoing pollution of Earth’s orbital environment by: 

  • avoiding further generation of hazardous space debris, and 
  • remediating existing hazardous space debris. 

The Net Zero Space Declaration is derived from the Forum’s decision to make “Global Commons: Protecting the Space Environment” a key theme for this year’s event. When announcing their support, all stakeholders will commit to declaring concrete, tangible example(s) of actions they took, or are planning to undertake, in accordance with the scale of their operations and within their means so as to contribute to the Net Zero Space goal. The Paris Peace Forum will report annually on the progress of the initiative and promote the subsequent actions required for the declaration’s goal to be realized.  

“Astroscale fully supports and endorses the Paris Peace Forum’s Net Zero Space Declaration,” said Nobu Okada, Founder and CEO of Astroscale. “This is a milestone announcement for the industry and Astroscale will support this goal with our innovative technologies and services designed to offer on-orbit servicing to satellite operators and government partners.”

Astroscale will support the Net Zero Space initiative by:

  • Developing innovative and scalable solutions across the spectrum of on-orbit servicing including: 
    • Demonstrating the core technologies for End-of-Life (EOL) services through our ELSA-d  mission, currently performing debris docking and removal demonstrations in low Earth orbit (LEO); 
    • Advancing commercial solutions for LEO satellite operators to remove defunct or failing LEO satellites through our ELSA-M servicers from 2024; 
    • Providing commercial solutions for geostationary orbit (GEO) satellite operators to safely extend the operational lifetime of GEO satellites through our Life Extension Services  from 2025; 
    • Partnering with governments and national space agencies to remove large pieces of existing debris, such as spent rocket upper stages.  
  • Building the economics and working with government and commercial stakeholders to develop norms, regulations, and incentives that support the responsible use of space.

Astroscale’s Group COO, Chris Blackerby, joined the “Net Zero Space: Protecting the Earth’s Orbital Environment for all” panel alongside speakers from United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Eutelsat, Chang Guang Satellite Technology, Planet, and Leiden University to officially launch the initiative.  

Kumar Singarajah, Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs at Astroscale Ltd., also joined a panel today titled, “Final frontier, final hide-and-seek: Developing capacities for outer space monitoring and operations”, alongside speakers from GISTDA, EUSST, Share My Space, and the University of Tokyo, to discuss how Space Situational Awareness and on-orbit servicing is essential to efficiently act for a more sustainable orbital environment.  

The topics of space sustainability and on-orbit servicing are gaining traction in national governments, including the UK which recently released the latest UK National Space Strategy. The strategy states clear intentions to establish UK leadership in space sustainability both at home and internationally, and to support industry to develop on-orbit servicing and manufacturing technology and capability. The UK Strategy was followed by an Active Debris Removal Mission Study award, commissioned by the UK Space Agency, to remove two defunct satellites from low Earth orbit, which Astroscale was selected to lead one of two study programs. 

Space sustainability was also addressed in this year’s G7 Leaders’ Summit discussions during which delegates from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the USA, and the EU released a joint statement pledging to take action to tackle the growing hazard of space debris and highlighting their shared commitment to safeguard the safe and sustainable use of space. 

Astroscale is leading the way for on-orbit servicing with its End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission, which launched in March 2021 and aims to validate the key technologies and capabilities required for rendezvous and proximity operations and spacecraft capture. The Astroscale Mission Operations team successfully completed the first test capture in August and is now looking ahead to capture the client spacecraft in increasingly complex scenarios over the next few months. 

The Net Zero Space Declaration has already received pledges of support from a number of other stakeholders, including Arianespace, CGSTL, National Centre for Space Studies, Eutelsat, International Institute of Air and Space Law, Isispace, Planet, Share my Space, and SpaceAble. 

The Paris Peace Forum provides a platform for partners to promote collective action and international cooperation. The association also seeks to support global governance solutions and drive impact on an international scale.