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ESA and Twelve Countries Sign the Zero Debris Charter

ESA illustration of space debris. Credit ESA
Credit ESA

Ibadan, 24 May 2024. – Twelve nations have signed the Zero Debris Charter at the ESA/EU Space Council, solidifying their commitment to the long-term sustainability of human activities in Earth orbit. In addition to the 12 countries, the European Space Agency also signed the Zero Debris Charter as an International Organization (IGO). The Zero Debris Charter is an effort to become debris-neutral in space by 2030 that was unveiled at the ESA Space Summit in Seville meeting in November 2023.

The Charter’s signing represents the first time countries have subscribed at the national level, boosting Europe as a leader in clean space while demonstrating widespread acceptance of the charter. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom have all pledged to adhere to the charter. Likewise, over 100 organizations have also promised to sign the community-led endeavour in the coming months.

At the Ministerial Conference of 2022, ESA Member States enjoined the Agency to implement “a Zero Debris approach for its missions; and to encourage partners and other actors to pursue similar paths, thereby collectively putting Europe at the forefront of sustainability on Earth and in space, while preserving the competitiveness of its industry.” As a result, ESA’s Zero Debris approach is the agency’s large-scale revision of its internal space debris mitigation requirements to become debris-neutral by 2030.

Explaining the Charter, Quentin Verspieren, Project Accelerator and Space Safety Program Coordinator at ESA, said, “The Zero Debris Charter signals Europe’s unwavering commitment to be a global leader on space debris mitigation and remediation, fostering collective action of a large community of space actors from all around the world. The impact of the promise by these twelve countries on the sustainability of our future activities in space will be immense.”

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