Space Sustainability: Preserving the Usability of Outer Space

Space Sustainability: Preserving the Usability of Outer Space

Humanity is yet to explore the limits of our universe, but outer space is already becoming an increasingly important resource for the Earth.

The Earth’s orbits support various satellite applications that enable the technologies we use on a daily basis. While space might seem infinite, the orbits in which satellites travel constitute a limited natural resource with a finite amount of physical space. These orbits are becoming more and more crowded with satellites and space junk—and managing this resource sustainably is critical to the future of activities in space.

The above infographic from our sponsor Secure World Foundation highlights the challenges facing space sustainability and the potential solutions that can help manage this resource for the future.

The Need to Preserve Outer Space

Thousands of satellites orbit the Earth at different altitudes, providing social, scientific, and economic benefits to people across the globe. While some satellites are helping advance science and exploration in space, others are monitoring the Earth’s environment and aiding disaster management on the ground.

However, space is a global resource, where the presence and actions of one actor can affect all the others in orbit. In 1990, there were less than 500 active satellites orbiting the Earth. Today, there are more than 4,000 active satellites in space. Furthermore, with companies like SpaceX launching expansive satellite networks, the majority of active satellites today (Read more...)