In anticipation of the European Space Agency's Space Debris Conference, the ESA is hosting a workshop on the Space Sustainability Rating project, open to the public.
As the challenge of orbital debris is set to grow, current and future missions face an increasing risk of possible collisions. The Space Sustainability Rating (SSR) was conceived to provide a new, innovative way of addressing the orbital challenge by encouraging responsible behaviour in space through increasing the transparency of organizations’ debris mitigation efforts.
The SSR will provide a score representing a mission’s sustainability as it relates to debris mitigation and alignment with international guidelines. Organizations will provide mission data through a questionnaire, which will be evaluated in combination with other external data through a mathematical model that establishes a rating for the mission. By voluntarily taking part in the rating, spacecraft operators, launch service providers and satellite manufacturers will share a single point of reference externally describing their mission’s level of sustainability.
Making their aggregate score publicly available, these actors will increase transparency and place emphasis on their debris mitigation approach, without disclosing any mission-sensitive or proprietary information. The rating may also act as a differentiator and trigger positive outcomes (e.g. impacting insurance cost or funding conditions), incentivizing other stakeholders to improve their behaviour.
The workshop will provide an overview of the rating formulation, will present the outcomes of the alpha and beta testing, and provide an update on the process for the selection of the SSR “host” organization.
The concept for the Space Sustainability Rating was conceived by the Global Future Council on Space Technologies of the World Economic Forum that selected and partnered with a team composed of five organisations to design the rating. The project team includes the European Space Agency (Stijn Lemmens, Francesca Letizia), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Danielle Wood, Minoo Rathnasabapathy), University of Texas at Austin (Moriba Jah), Bryce, Space and Technology (Simon Potter) and the World Economic Forum (Nikolai Khlystov).