Project

Space Sustainability Rating

Copyright

NASA

NASA

Overview of the Space Sustainability Rating

The global space community is witnessing a rapid increase in creative business models and new technologies that are leading to plans to launch thousands of satellites into Low Earth Orbit. The number of satellites being proposed is much greater than the historical patterns that have been seen globally to date. While the technology has the potential to bring useful societal services, in areas such as satellite communication and earth observation, there is a growing risk that the capacity of Earth orbit to accommodate such a large set of new space objects safely may be in jeopardy.

The Space Sustainability Rating is an initiative that seeks to foster voluntary action by satellite operators to reduce the risk of space debris, on-orbit collisions, and unsustainable space operations. The concept for the Space Sustainability Rating was conceived by the Global Future Council on Space Technologies of the World Economic Forum [1] through a series of workshops starting. The World Economic Forum held a competitive call for proposals in 2018 and selected a team compose… View full description

Overview of the Space Sustainability Rating

The global space community is witnessing a rapid increase in creative business models and new technologies that are leading to plans to launch thousands of satellites into Low Earth Orbit. The number of satellites being proposed is much greater than the historical patterns that have been seen globally to date. While the technology has the potential to bring useful societal services, in areas such as satellite communication and earth observation, there is a growing risk that the capacity of Earth orbit to accommodate such a large set of new space objects safely may be in jeopardy.

The Space Sustainability Rating is an initiative that seeks to foster voluntary action by satellite operators to reduce the risk of space debris, on-orbit collisions, and unsustainable space operations. The concept for the Space Sustainability Rating was conceived by the Global Future Council on Space Technologies of the World Economic Forum [1] through a series of workshops starting. The World Economic Forum held a competitive call for proposals in 2018 and selected a team composed of four organizations to design the Space Sustainability Rating, these organizations include the European Space Agency, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin, and Bryce, Space and Technology. These four organizations formed a consortium with the World Economic Forum to define the technical and programmatic aspects of the Space Sustainability Rating during the period from 2019 through 2021. The Consortium brings expertise in the areas of modeling and evaluating the impact of space debris in Earth orbit, astrodynamics, characterization of space objects, technology policy, space economics and understanding of the role of emerging countries and private actors in the space sector.

Videos  

Space Sustainability Rating - Evaluating Sustainability in Space

Released on 9 May 2021

The video features a series of presentations that describe the design and development of the SSR to-date. Featuring insights from key stakeholders and updates from the SSR consortium, the video details the SSR history, modules, business model, and next steps.

Space Sustainability Rating: Designing a Composite Indicator to Incentivize Satellite Operators to Pursue Long-Term Sustainability of the Space Environment

Released on 12 October 2020

The video summarizes the paper presented at the International Astronautical Congress in 2020, and builds upon the SSR concept introduced at the IAC in 2019. The video provides in-depth description into the methodology used to design the SSR, based on successful rating systems in other industries such as LEED (green building energy and environmental design) and STARS (higher educationinstitutions’ performance in sustainability measures). The video further explores key questions including; (i) what factors are most important to influence whether an operator seeks to reduce the potential for debris creation, (ii) how can the SSR can contribute to existing mechanisms (eg. UN Long-term Sustainability Guidelines, IADC) in supporting long-term space sustainability, and (iii) how can the SSR educate policy makers regarding manufacturers’ and operators’ motivations in choosing specific criteria and certifications in designing their mission to achieve a high rating or improve their existing rating