In recent years, space has been receiving increasing pressure from human activities. To realize the dimension of this reality, one fact is enough: at present, there are few 8,000 active satellites. These mainly fulfill the objectives CommunicationThey also deal with other related matters of lesser importance earth observation, Scientific studies and vital Navigation systems We all already use it.
Predictions indicate that This growth will continue unabated In the following years. Euroconsult estimates an average of 2,800 satellite launches annually between now and 2032, equivalent to 8 devices per day.
With these statistics, the The New Space Economy is thriving, and the satellite industry is here to stay. In fact, it has proven to be essential in helping Bridging the digital divide and connect the disconnected ones by land, sea or air.
It is the only way to provide truly global connectivity for both people and goods, helping all types of industries in their digitization process. As the satellite industry continues to grow, it will bring socio-economic benefits Over $250 billion All over the world.
Even now, as in any other sector, there are a series of challenges that need to be addressed to prevent not only the development of this process from being damaged, but also the reputation of one of the sectors with future plans. For humanity.
with A steady increase in satellites and spacecraftIt has become imperative to address not only the effectiveness of tasks, but also their effectiveness Long term stability. Proliferation of space debris and increased potential for it Risk of collision in orbit and the impact on optical astronomy, are some of the reasons for great concern.
How can space be stable?
This environment has forced companies operating in the sector to implement pioneering solutions and standardized practices that guarantee a sustainable and safe environment for future generations.
That is the aim of the Code of Conduct on Space Sustainability, which was recently endorsed by the Global Satellite Operators Association (GSOA), the international association representing global and regional satellite operators, and which companies like Sateliot have naturally integrated. Immediately.
This regulation focuses precisely on all of the elements mentioned above and requires operators to develop responsible practices that minimize the risk of collisions in orbit. Reduce the threat of untraceable wasteProtecting humans in space and limiting effects on optical astronomy.
For this Code to be truly effective, it is essential that operators share information about the waste they generate or do not generate; to design Orbital grids to ensure that satellites do not become debris; and work together to minimize negative impacts on ground-based optical astronomy while ensuring the provision of observation and satellite services at optical wavelengths.
Another step towards sustainability
Along with these international norms, one of the fundamental pillars of sustainable space strategy Robust satellite design. These are not only advanced technological devices in space, but also rigid structures designed to withstand the extreme conditions to which they are exposed. Carefully selected materials and components guarantee the resistance and stability needed to face the adversities of space.
So the design phase is fundamental for companies involved in this field. Now is the time to act urgently to reduce risks. For example, satellites are designed so that at the end of their useful lives they perform orbital maneuvers, ie They change their orbits in a controlled manner and burn up on re-entry into the atmosphereThis avoids accumulation Space debris. To avoid possible collisions in orbit, select orbits that guarantee re-entry within 5 years and have thrusters installed.
At this stage, the size and coating of the surface of the satellites is also interfered with, which facilitates their impact on astronomical observations made from Earth.
All these objectives are greatly aided by the thorough testing of satellites before launch, which simulates the extreme conditions of the space environment. These tests include vibrations and temperature changes in the vacuum, recreating the conditions the satellite will be exposed to during its useful life.
These rigorous tests not only ensure the satellite's endurance They identify any structural weaknesses or defective components before launch.
As for Risk of conflictsThis challenge is addressed by studying and selecting specific orbits that minimize the chances of collisions with other objects in space, using advanced tracking systems. Built-in GPS on their satellites
Other activities may be added to these activities in the form of cooperation with organizations such as the JSpOC -Joint Space Operations Center-, which assists with continuous monitoring and warnings during conflict risk and with other partners such as the space situation. Improve awareness, manage traffic in orbit and coordinate maneuvers during warnings.
Implementing this holistic strategy is essential for organizations to be at the forefront of setting standards for the industry and establishing accountability. As a valuable resource for all mankind, space continues to be a guiding tool towards the future.
Jaume Sanbera is the CEO of Satellite.