The new space economy should expect to meet the global demand for sustainability.
With the space industry expected to exceed a trillion dollars in value by 2040, it should be no surprise to see its environmental, social, governance (ESG) credentials come under scrutiny.
Like the planet's oceans and atmosphere, the orbital space environment is a common asset that the entire world depends on and has a stake in — and it is also susceptible to degradation through environmental abuse. Thousands of tonnes of debris already litter orbital space, and the projected exponential growth of activities and assets is rocketing the risk of further space debris buildup to the impediment of future space missions. Add to that light and radio signal pollution, as well as the challenge of flight safety and space traffic management.
All participants in the space ecosystem, governments, industry and new space entities need to take responsibility for the long-term viability of space exploration and quality of the orbital space environment by identifying, prioritising and promoting responsible uses of space resources.
Fortunately, the commercial space sector has much to offer when it comes to sustainability. The new space economy includes the deployment of satellites for telecommunications, earth observation and navigation, and the extraction of resources from asteroids and the moon. While launches are carbon-intensive, they are offset by what space technologies offer Earth in pursuit of ever-more-ambitious environmental goals.
Companies in all sectors looking to adopt leadership positions in sustainability should consider how space-based technologies can help them hone or expand existing efforts.
Read our report to find out how you can contribute to the sustainability mission in space.
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