How to make outer space a safer place

November 16th, 2009 - 7:56 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, November 15 (ANI): A new report has flagged a series of recommendations to help address the orbital debris concern, and other issues that can assure enhanced security in space for all.

The report - entitled “Towards Greater Security in Outer Space: Some Recommendations” - has been released, made possible by information gathered during a recent workshop held in Paris, France and co-sponsored by Secure World Foundation and the L’Institut francais des relations internationals.

The report puts in perspective the dynamics of current international deliberations and actions on space security and presents a set of key recommendations.

One recommendation is that there should be a concerted effort to establish an international Space Situational Awareness (SSA) architecture in order to reduce the risk of accidental collisions in space.

Secondly, research should be increased on methods of deorbiting critical pieces of debris safely and effectively.

In addition, research should start on the legal and political issues of removing debris from orbit in order to provide the legal and policy bases for such activities.

The report also recommends that the space community should have a “phonebook” of the satellite maneuvering centers maintained by operators to contact them quickly in case of need.

In addition, satellite operators could agree to conduct “collision avoidance” exercises.

The report added that the Working Group on Best Practices within the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the United Nations’ Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva should pursue additional means to limit creation of space debris.

Regular communication with delegates at the CD should ensure that the latter understand the role of debris in contributing to an insecure space environment.

“The report is intended to facilitate future debates on space security,” explained Laurence Nardon, Research Fellow and Head of the United States Program.

Nardon said that the recent series of debris-creating events in space has produced a better sense of the threat to space stability.

“Now is the time to act,” she added.

“We also recommend practical steps for better space stability,” Nardon said, such as maintaining a satellite operators’ phonebook for emergency situations, or conducting virtual collision avoidance exercises. (ANI)

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