Report Calls for Immediate Actions to Address Impact of Satellite Constellations on Astronomy, Environment

A wide-field image (2.2 degrees across) from the Dark Energy Camera on the Víctor M. Blanco 4-m telescope at the Cerro Tololo InterAmerican Observatory, taken on 18 November 2019. Several Starlink satellites crossed the field of view. (Credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA/DECam DELVE Survey)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

A new report recommends “immediate, well-funded, comprehensive, and collaborative work” to implement a series of measures to mitigate the negative impacts that large satellite constellations on ground-based astronomy.

The report, whose executive summary was published last week, includes 10 recommendations for observatories and constellation operators that include the development of software to identify and mask satellite trails and designs changes to lessen the reflectivity of satellites. (The full list of recommendations are below.)

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Growing Number of Satellites Contribute Significant Light Pollution to Night Skies

Trails caused by the fifth deployment of satellites making up the Starlink constellation. (Credit: Andreas Möller)

LONDON (Royal Astronomical Society PR) — Scientists reported new research results today suggesting that artificial objects in orbit around the Earth are brightening night skies on our planet significantly more than previously understood.

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UK Space Sector Receives £1 Million Government Boost to Support International Innovation

SWINDON, UK (UK Space Agency PR) — Five new projects have been awarded a share of over £1 million [$1.38 million] of government funding to work with international partners on innovative space technology.

Projects to remotely probe ice on Mars to help explorers find life below the surface, a system to warn of impacts of flood risks to infrastructure based on research in India and a scheme to design UK imaging technology for a space telescope are among the new international initiatives to receive backing from the UK Space Agency’s National Space Innovation Programme (NSIP).

The funding will see UK companies and organisations working with partners such as NASA, and space agencies from Canada, Japan and Italy. NSIP is the first fund dedicated to supporting the UK space sector’s innovation through collaborations with international partners designed to contribute to UK science, security and prosperity.

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Samantha Bee Looks at Space Junk & the Kessler Syndrome

Video Caption: While we’ve been so focused on separating our cardboard and plastic down on Earth, waste, abandoned satellites, and other man made debris have been accumulating in space. If we want to continue our progress in space and maintain our technology, it’s time for a major cleanup! Watch Full Frontal with Samantha Bee all new Wednesdays at 10:30/ 9:30c on TBS!

JAXA Selects Central American Team for KiobCUBE Fifth Round, Extends Program with UNOOSA for Sixth Round

Successful deployment of 1KUNS-PF (Kenyan Satellite, selected as first round of KiboCUBE) from Kibo in May, 2018. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) cooperate under the KiboCUBE program launched in 2015 to provide developing countries with opportunities to deploy CubeSats from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) Kibo of the International Space Station (ISS).

JAXA and OOSA have selected a team from the Central American Integration System (SICA), for the fifth round of KiboCUBE program, which called for applications from March 26, 2019 to September 30, 2019. It is the first time to select international organization in this program.

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NASA, UN Sign Memorandum of Understanding on Peaceful Uses of Space

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) pledging cooperation in areas of science and technology to support the peaceful use of outer space.

The MOU, signed Thursday, Dec. 17, brings together NASA’s wealth of publicly available Earth observation data and dynamic exploration opportunities with UNOOSA’s unique position as the only U.N. entity dedicated to outer space affairs.

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China Using Space to Further Geopolitical Goals

Completing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is using its space program to achieve the nation’s geopolitical and economic goals. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China is using its growing space program to achieve a range of geopolitical and economic goals, including attracting partners for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), improving economic and political ties with other countries, and deepening others’ reliance on its space systems and data services.

“Beijing views its space program as key to elevating its leadership profile in international space cooperation, including through BRI, and establishing a dominant position in the commercial space industry,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress.

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Report: China Could Follow South China Sea Strategy in Seeking Space Resources

Optical Mining of Asteroids, Moons, and Planets to Enable Sustainable Human Exploration and Space Industrialization (Credits: Joel Sercel)

Continuing our look at the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 Report to Congress, we examine how China is seeking to shape the governance of space activities. [Full Report]

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

China’s actions in asserting sovereignty over the disputed South China Sea could serve as a model by which that nation would claim extraterrestrial resources and consolidate its control over key space assets, a new report to the U.S. Congress warned.

“Contrary to international norms governing the exploration and commercial exploitation of space, statements from senior Chinese officials signal Beijing’s belief in its right to claim use of space-based resources in the absence of a clear legal framework specifically regulating mining in space,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2019 report.

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UNOOSA, Luxembourg Launch New “Space Law for New Space Actors” Project

LUXEMBOURG (Luxembourg Space Agency PR) — Today, at the margins of the New Space Europe Conference, Ms. Paulette Lenert, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs and Ms. Simonetta di Pippo, Director of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) signed a funding agreement to support UNOOSA’s new “Space Law for New Space Actors” project.

The “Space Law for New Space Actors” project will offer UN Member States tailored capacity building to facilitate their drafting of national space legislation and/or national space policies in line with international space law, promoting the long-term sustainability of outer space activities. Such capacity building will support in particular new and emerging space-faring nations to conduct space activities in a responsible and sustainable manner.

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UNOOSA, Airbus Announce Opportunity for Utilizing Bartolomeo ISS Platform

bartolomeo platform on ISS. (Credit: Airbus Defence and Space)

VIENNA and WASHINGTON D.C., 24 October 2019 (Airbus/UNOOSA PR) – At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Washington D.C., the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and Airbus issued an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for utilizing the Airbus Bartolomeo external platform on the International Space Station (ISS) for missions in the space environment.

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SIA Releases Principles of Space Safety for Commercial Satellite Industry

WASHINGTON, DC (SIA PR) — The Satellite Industry Association (SIA) today announced the release of a set of Principles of Space Safety, drafted to help protect freedom of use and long-term access to space by ensuring safe flight operations for satellites, human spacecraft and other space missions.

SIA is a U.S.-based trade association that for more than two decades has advocated on behalf of the U.S. satellite industry regarding policy, regulatory, and legislative issues affecting the commercial satellite business. 

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Experiments Selected to Fly Aboard Chinese Space Station

Artist’s conception of China’s Tianhe-1 space station. (Credit: China Manned Space Engineering)

VIENNA,  12 June (UN Information Service) – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced the winners of their joint opportunity to conduct experiments on board the China Space Station (CSS) during a side event of the 62nd session of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).

Six winning projects were selected, and three were conditionally selected. The winning institutions come from a variety of countries, including Belgium, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Kenya, the Netherlands, Norway, Mexico, Poland, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain and Switzerland.

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Nine Experiments to be Executed Aboard the China Space Station

VIENNA (United Nations Information Service) — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), in cooperation with the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) and with the support of the Government of China, published on 28 May 2018 the 1st “Announcement of Opportunity (AO)” under the United Nations/China Cooperation on the Utilization of the China Space Station (CSS) initiative, inviting all Member States of United Nations to submit applications for conducting their scientific experiments on board the CSS.

As of 30 September 2018, which was the application deadline, a total of 42 applications from institutions in 27 countries were received, and then carefully evaluated by around 60 experts from UNOOSA, CMSA and international space community, in line with the eligibility and selection criteria outlined in the first AO. Eighteen (18) projects out of the 42 received were shortlisted, and their Principal Investigators were invited to prepare their Implementation Scheme Proposals (ISPs) for further review towards a final selection. By the submission deadline of 20 April 2019, 15 ISPs from the 18 shortlisted were received and an in-depth review in terms of technical scheme, implementation feasibility, onboard resource requirements, safety analysis, risk analysis, and financial support for their own development was executed.

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