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New Certification System to Help Fight Space Junk Crisis, to Rate Satellites From 2022

Image for representation, Credits: Reuters

Image for representation, Credits: Reuters

The World Economic Forum has chosen EPFL Space Center (eSpace) in Switzerland to lead and implement the rating systems and issue certificates.

With more and more satellites launching for space, the problem of space debris and defunct artificial material in space is growing at an unchecked rate. In that instance, the scary part of space debris is that they travel at very high speeds, closer to 7 kilometres per second. At a speed as high as that, even a tiny fleck of paint can damage a spaceship. To ensure that upcoming space missions are sustainable and contribute to space debris as little as possible, the World Economic Forum has devised a new certification system that will rate space missions for their sustainability. The new rating system will be called Space Sustainable Rating (SSR) and will assign scores to space missions based on their compliance with international guidelines for space debris mitigation. The certification system will be ready for the Space Missions launching in early 2022 and onwards. The World Economic Forum has chosen EPFL Space Center (eSpace) in Switzerland to lead and implement the rating systems and issue certificates.

Nikolai Khlystov, who is the lead for Mobility and Space at the World Economic Forum, said in a statement, “Incentivizing better behaviour by having actors compete on sustainability will create a race to the top and eSpace at EPFL is a great organization to take the SSR to the next level.”

The initiative was developed by a joint collaboration of WEP, the European Space Agency and a team led by MIT Media Lab’s Space Enabled Research Group.

The problem is alarming, because as of January 2019, 128 million pieces of space debris smaller than one centimetre in size, 90,000 objects 1-10 centimetres in size and 34000 pieces greater than 10 cm, are orbiting the space creating a league of man-made problems for space travel.

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The problem of space debris is increasing day by day as more and more countries and organisations are sending their satellites into space. As of April 2021, 7,389 satellites are in space out of which more than 3000 are inactive, according to the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs.

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first published:June 22, 2021, 15:55 IST