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EU Space Law to Protect Satellites From Debris Delayed

Credit: European Space Conference

Thessaloniki, 11 April 2024 – The European Space Law, a flagship project of the EU aimed at protecting satellites and ensuring safer and more sustainable space flights, initially scheduled for release this month of April 2024, is again delayed. It is unlikely that the European Space Law will make it in the current EU legislative season, which poses significant risks.

The European Space Law is intended to protect satellites crucial for everyday use of technologies like internet and GPS. Delay in implementing the law risks space debris accumulation, jeopardizing vital satellites and space flights. Furthermore, the lack of legal certainty slows down and undermines the European New Space sector’s growth.

In a LinkedIn post, Niklas Nienaß, a Member of the European Parliament for The Greens/ European Free Alliance, stressed the urgency of the issue due to the need to establish rules and prevent unchecked activities in space. Niklas Nienaß confronted face to face the European Commissioner Thierry Breton, criticizing his handling of the EU Space Law release, for failing to recognize the urgency and importance of swift action.

Nienaß argues that the delay in implementing the European Space Law highlights the need for rapid action to establish regulatory frameworks in space. Stakeholders must prioritize collaboration and expedited processes to mitigate risks posed by space debris and ensure the sustainability and growth of the space industry. Policymakers should emphasize the importance of timely regulation to maintain competitiveness and leadership in the global space arena.

On 09 April 2024, a day before the delay was made public, Christoph Kautz, Director of Satellite Navigation and Earth Observation at DG DEFIS European Commission, speaking at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs on the topic of EU space priorities, had emphasized twice how important the EU Space Law was: specifically to speed up the remediation of space debris, and more broadly, to warrant sustainability of orbital activities. Kautz also emphasized how important international cooperation was for these matters, praising how effective the US-EU collaboration had proven in solving these issues.

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