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#SpaceWatchGL Op’ed: Get your voice heard – vote for Space Traffic: Another Inconvenient Truth! at SXSW2020

Dr. Moriba Jah. Photograph courtesy of the University of Texas, Austin.

SpaceWatch.Global supports groundbreaking ideas and initiatives. In the past, we have published a number of posts from Dr. Moriba Jah about Space Traffic and we’d like to ask you, our Readers for your support. Dr. Jah has the opportunity to speak at SXSW2020 to be held in Austin, Texas which will feature enlightening and inspiring talks on a whole host of subjects. To be able to present, Dr. Jah needs your vote. If you recognise the importance of our ability to tackle the challenge of Space Traffic, you know what to do! Please read the following message from Dr. Jah to find out more.

Near Earth space is a finite resource and a global commons. There is limited orbital capacity for safe and sustainable space operations. We have orbital highways and most of what navigates these will do so well beyond our lifetimes. Imagine riding on a boat on the high seas, and when we run out of fuel, the boat just drifts and we hop onto another with fuel, and so on and so on. Eventually, we’ll have to start watching out for drifting ships to avoid collisions. This is what it is like in near earth space. Who cares? Well, if you value the money you have in a bank, perhaps you should. All transactions are timed based upon satellite data. Weather, TV and communications, and soon, the internet itself, all space-based services. Do you know what is protecting these from harm? Nothing, not even the Space Force! As more and more companies launch satellites to make a lot of money, what prevents any company from misbehaving and causing the loss, disruption, or degradation of a competitor’s service? Nothing! Who would know? Probably nobody because we don’t persistently monitor the skies and we certainly don’t openly share the data. We don’t even agree on what is on orbit and where it is or will be. Space traffic is increasing at an alarming rate and yet we have no space traffic rules we agree upon, implement, let alone enforce.

There are three main themes you should think about regarding near Earth space:

(1) Space is contested geopolitically

(2) space is contested commercially, and

(3) the environment could become operationally unsustainable so it requires protection.

If we want space to be safe, secure, and sustainable, we must make it transparent and predictable! It’s providing services we critically depend upon. Shouldn’t we keep people honest and hold everyone operating in our common space, accountable?

I have an opportunity to speak about this at SXSW, if you vote for this talk.

Space Traffic: Another Inconvenient Truth!

To get an idea about his thoughts, here a TED talk he gave earlier this year.


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