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UNOOSA and UK Launch partnership on Registering Space Objects

Niklas Hedman; Photo courtesy of him

Ibadan, 2 December 2022. – The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and the Government of the United Kingdom are launching a new project to enhance international expertise in the registration of objects launched into outer space. The multi-year project strengthens an already solid foundation of joint efforts between the partners covering topics such as space sustainability and climate action.

The United Nations Register of Objects Launched into Outer Space is a treaty-based mechanism that promotes transparency in outer space activities. Since the beginning of the space age, various countries and companies have launched nearly 14,000 satellites. Furthermore, the UN has received the registration of 85 percent of them. UNOOSA has received over 2,000 satellite registrations in 2022 alone, and over 100,000 satellites could be launched over the next decade. With 35 percent of all satellites launched over the past three years, this exponential growth demonstrates the need for a better understanding of national registration practices.

Funding for the project will go towards preparing an anonymized stakeholder study report on the experiences of Member States in implementing international law. The law includes the Registration Convention, which the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and the UN General Assembly adopted in 1974.

Acting Director of UNOOSA, Niklas Hedman, said: “The registration of space objects has been a key tool promoting transparency since the dawn of the space age. As we look ahead, registration must keep pace with current and future space activities, such as in-orbit servicing, transfer of ownership, space mining beyond Earth’s orbit, mega constellations, and active debris removal. With the outlook of tens of thousands of new satellites reaching orbit this decade, now is the time to bring the international community together to understand national approaches to registration and support new and emerging space-faring nations to use space safely and sustainably.”

UK Space Agency Chief Executive Officer, Paul Bate, said: “We are proud to be supporting this initiative, which will make a huge impact on the world’s rapidly increasing use of outer space. This partnership with UNOOSA demonstrates how other spacefaring nations share this ambition. By working together to understand each other’s needs and goals, we can ensure the safer and fairer use of space for everyone.”

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