The UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has announced that it will begin to develop a number of initiatives to help protect the orbital environment, including financial support for debris removal.
The government’s Plan for Space Sustainability, unveiled during the fourth Summit on Space Sustainability, includes a review of regulations focused on orbital constellations, with a view to the update reflecting the huge growth in satellite constellations and the rapidly changing space environment.
£5 million investment
The plan also confirms a £5 million investment in debris removal and in-orbit servicing and manufacturing missions.
UK Science Minister George Freeman said: “A ‘Wild West’ space race without effective regulation risks a growing crisis of debris in space. That is why today I am announcing our Plan for Space Sustainability, a package of announcements which demonstrates the UK’s commitment to using our regulatory leadership.
“This plan will ensure a safe and sustainable commercial space sector which rewards responsible satellite programs by lowering the costs of launch licences and insurance for sustainable satellites and space missions.”
Nick Shave, Managing Director of Astroscale, which will be competing for the funding in the coming months, said: “We welcome the government announcement to continue to invest in-orbit servicing and active debris removal missions through contributing to UK Space Agency and European Space Agency missions.
“This investment will provide tremendous opportunities to establish a UK leadership position, create jobs and commercialise this fast-growing sector.”