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The Council of the European Union Advocates Space Traffic Management

The Council of the European Union Advocates for space traffic management. Credit: UNOOSA

Ibadan, 30 May 2023. – The Council of the European Union has adopted conclusions on the ‘Fair and sustainable use of space’, including a call for a European approach to space traffic management at a time when orbits are increasingly congested with space objects.

This is because the Ministers recognize that while space technology provides multiple benefits to society and the economy, some of the orbits around the Earth are congested with satellites and debris, making the future development of space activities riskier and more complex. In addition, light pollution and electromagnetic interference disturb astronomical observation and research.

To tackle these challenges, the Council’s conclusions call for mitigation measures to monitor and manage existing space debris. Furthermore, it seeks to find ways to reduce the amount of waste in future orbital activities. As a result, the Council’s conclusions propose reinforcing capabilities through, for instance, the contribution of the European Union Space Surveillance and Tracking service, in collaboration with the EU Space Program Agency, to advance towards an EU approach to space traffic management.

Furthermore, the Council’s conclusions recognize that space is a global common that should be free for exploration and use by all states. Therefore, it invites the Commission, and the member states to explore the acceptance of the Rescue Agreement, the Liability Convention and the Registration Convention under the United Nations Treaties and Conventions on outer space.

The conclusions also call on member states and the Commission to continue implementing the 21 voluntary guidelines for the long-term sustainability of outer space activities adopted by the United Nations.

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