Galactic Game Changer: NASA’s New Strategy For A Sustainable Future In Space

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As the space around Earth becomes more crowded with satellites and other spacecraft, NASA has a plan for a sustainable future within the cosmos. The space agency recently released the first part of its integrated Space Sustainability Strategy, marking initial progress for NASA on the issue at hand.

It feels like companies, such as SpaceX, are launching new satellites and other spacecraft into low-Earth orbit (LEO) nearly every day. As commercial space companies and national space agencies compete in a neck and neck battle to gain the advantage in a modern era space race, the area surrounding Earth has quickly become quite crowded with satellites and space debris. With that in mind, NASA has devised a plan to keep LEO, and all of space, a place where future generations can safely continue scientific explorations.

“The release of this strategy marks true progress for NASA on space sustainability,” remarked NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. “Space is busy – and only getting busier. If we want to make sure that critical parts of space are preserved so that our children and grandchildren can continue to use them for the benefit of humanity, the time to act is now. NASA is making sure that we’re aligning our resources to support sustainable activity for us and for all.”

The new strategy seeks to integrate the efforts of NASA as a leader for responsible and sustainable space operations, and entities across the agency, which have developed best practices, analytic tools, and technologies that have been adopted by operators around the world to allow NASA to focus its resources on the most prominent issues surrounding the overcrowding of space. In order to bring all these tools together, NASA will appoint a new director of space sustainability to oversee and coordinate these efforts across the space agency.

A large part of the plan will include how to control and maintain a burgeoning commercial space business, which comprises satellite constellations, autonomous spacecraft, and future commercial space destinations. This increase in LEO spacecraft generates distinct challenges, such as an operating environment that increasingly becomes more crowded with spacecraft and space debris. NASA remarked it is vital that it understands both the risks and benefits associated with this growth, which it says is “crucial for space sustainability.”

NASA remains committed to space sustainability, and focusing its own resources on attempting to keep the space around Earth and beyond a playground future generations can use to explore. The space agency says it won’t stop with Earth and LEO, as it also recognizes the need to monitor the orbital area near and around the Moon, as well as deep space.