NSS has just released a new Position Paper: “An SPD-3 and NAPA Informed Model for a Safe and Sustainable Space Economy: Six Recommendations.” (Above illustration of space debris courtesy NASA.)
The U.S. Administration’s Space Policy Directive-3 (SPD-3) in 2018 called for the Department of Commerce to establish and manage an Open Architecture Data Repository to share publicly releasable Space Situational Awareness data with space entities worldwide and to become responsible for Space Traffic Management. In support of the Directive, the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) in August 2020 recommended that the Office of Space Commerce in the Department of Commerce be selected to conduct the expanded Space Situational Awareness and Space Traffic Management mission. The National Space Society (NSS) recommends that adequate funding and authority be given to Commerce for this expansion.
The Soviet Union/Russia, the United States, and China are responsible for the great mass of debris left in orbit from their heritage spacecraft launches. NSS recommends that, in their mutual interest, the United States carry out agreements with Russia and China to clean up the mass they left in orbit. NSS also recommends that the commercial space industry voluntarily take proactive steps to help establish national and international trust funds for orbital debris cleanup and safety maintenance in the orbital bands they plan to use for their satellite constellations and orbital infrastructure. Ideally, such proactive moves by the commercial space industry would be carried out in collaboration with government. Finally, NSS recommends that maritime lessons for limiting liability risk and cost be applied to the space context.