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Posted: Nov 09, 2012
A clean-up for space
(Nanowerk News) Space is becoming increasingly polluted by man-made debris. New EU guidelines and standards will help mitigate the problem and make the space industry cleaner.
The space programme has been helping to advance science in many ways, yet the debris it leaves in near-earth environments has not been properly addressed. Despite the existence of some relevant European guidelines, there is an urgent need to address this global challenge and mitigate the effects of debris accumulation before the problem worsens. The EU-funded project 'Alignment of capability and capacity for the objective of reducing debris' (Accord) is working on achieving this aim by providing the relevant tools and information to stakeholders.
Accord is encouraging research and development on a global scale for debris mitigation practices and identifying ways to strengthen European capability in the field. To achieve its aims the project is examining if industry can remove or minimise debris and outlining future challenges relevant to the issue. It is also developing indicators for an environmental impact ratings system to assess mitigation practices and help the space industry to become 'cleaner'.
In essence, the project will offer an effective mechanism to manage space debris and indirectly reduce it by highlighting current mitigation compliance. This will also help decrease risks for spacecraft, encourage investments in the European space industry to manage the challenge, and lead to effective debris standards for future space activities. The ensuing knowledge generated on the topic will undoubtedly help spacecraft manufacturers and operators manage debris mitigation and encourage compliance with the new guidelines.