Why is sustainability important in space? Space Technology and Sustainability

Sustainability on space technology

Sustainable Space Technology With Regulations

This year’s World Space Week has the subject “Space and Sustainability.” The 2022 subject, among other things, aims to encourage focus on the difficulties the globe faces in maintaining space safety and sustainability.

What do you know about space and yet don’t know about space? 

Space has very low pressure and is almost completely devoid of substance. Due to the lack of molecules positioned close enough to one another, sound cannot travel over space. Bits of gas, dust, and other matter float in the “emptier” (but not quite empty) parts of the universe, while planets, stars, and galaxies can be found in the more congested parts. 

From our vantage point on Earth, it is often believed that the Kármán line, or 62 miles above sea level, marks the beginning of outer space. This is an arbitrary line at a level where there isn’t much air to breathe or light to disperse. Beyond this altitude, blue starts to give place to black because there aren’t enough oxygen molecules present to keep the sky blue.

Space Sustainability

The sustainability of space means that all people will be able to use it in the long run for peaceful reasons and socioeconomic gain. In order to guarantee that outer space is safe, secure, and peaceful, this will require international cooperation.

What calls for the demand for environmentally friendly space technology? 

  • The growing problem of space debris 

Numerous and serious challenges, both in terms of quantity and quality, are present, spanning from satellite crowding and collision danger to orbital debris in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO). 

  • Rapidly increasing satellites 

As more than 80 nations presently contribute to the over 6,800 active satellites in orbit, many of which are used for both military and civilian reasons, as well as the over 30,000 pieces of orbital trash, there is an increasing sense of urgency around space sustainability.

  • Militarization of space

Space activity is only expected to develop and become more focused on national security as a result of the fusion of space technology, the quick militarization and securitization of space, and the growing mistrust among governments in the area. 

  • Massive investment in military space capability

France, which is presently leading the European Council, has also invested several billion euros on military space capability and frequently highlights the significance of space for other EU nations’ security. 

  • Increasing Defense space commands

In early 2022, Australia established the Defense Space Command to expand its strategic potential in space, while in June 2022, South Korea launched a spy satellite to better monitor North Korea, providing its military space strategy a major boost.

The regulations needed for sustainable space 

  • Putting the peaceful use of space first 

In 2010, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), which comprises 95 UN member states as participants, established a Working Group on the Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities.

 In 2019, the Group unanimously approved a set of rules, but it didn’t make these or any other restrictions legally binding. It promised to work on it for 5 years starting in 2022, but given that the Group relies on consensus-based decision-making, it is unlikely that more strict or comprehensive regulatory frameworks will result from its efforts.

  • Consensus; difficult but necessary 

Consensus-based strategies in multilateral fora have come under fire for their sluggish or ineffectual progress, particularly when they pertain to armaments or other security objectives and frequently conflict with the individual national security interests of its member states. 

  • Developing space sustainable ratings 

The Space Sustainability Rating (SSR), for example, was created by the World Economic Forum in 2022 with the goal of recognizing, rewarding, and motivating space players to develop and carry out sustainable and responsible space missions. It is still to be seen how nations will react to tools like the SSR, which are built on a positive reinforcement concept and aim to increase space sustainability.


Space sustainability is only beginning to be put into practice. Space specialists, intergovernmental organizations, or nations themselves cannot develop potential strategies to assist achieve sustainability in a vacuum. These decisions are not made in a vacuum. Sustainability in space shouldn’t be used as a political pawn like climate change.


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