Safe Space

OneWeb takes Responsible Space to the Next Level with Recommendations for Sustainable Space Practices

  • Research partnership with space industry peers and academics build understanding on how to protect and preserve the space environment
  • OneWeb and partners invite collaboration with industry on proposals
  • Papers provide academic, technical, and practical evidence to support the space protection agenda

Washington, DC, October 23, 2019 - OneWeb, a global communications company with a mission to connect everyone everywhere, is presenting three papers at the 2019 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) this week, focused on analyses and recommendations for the protection of the future of Space. These papers represent the continuation of OneWeb’s pledge to champion an industry-wide culture of shared education, coalition-building, awareness-raising and research into Space environmental issues via its Responsible Space program.

OneWeb’s Responsible Space commitments are designed to build on, and strengthen the work already being done within the Space community. The research and papers provide a framework for responsible practices for the wider industry, other partners, and policymakers. OneWeb’s aim with these papers is to share our learnings and expertise; to invite additional coordination, collaboration, and to build shared responsibility for us all, to ensure the future of Space.

The papers, co-authored by OneWeb’s Director of Mission Systems Engineering, Tim Maclay, and other respective experts, provide an analysis of three key elements in protecting space as a shared resource.

1. Long-Term Environmental Effects of Deploying the OneWeb Satellite Constellation

This study confirms the benefits of OneWeb’s design choices in relation to potential environmental effects. Led by Dr. Hugh Lewis (debris modeling expert) at the University of Southampton, UK, the analysis demonstrates that separating planes within a constellation result in: high post-mission deorbit reliability and short deorbit times, both of which significantly reduce the environmental impact of deploying large constellations.

2. Responsible Satellite Design and Operational Practices: A Critical Component of Effective Space Environment Management

Co-authored with Iridium and Maxar, this joint position paper proposes a comprehensive set of responsible design and operational practices to ensure the long-term sustainability of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) environment. These recommendations contribute to an industry-wide discussion on the Space environment challenges posed by the rapid increase in commercial launch activity in recent years and proposes updates to long-standing (and outdated) debris mitigation guidelines.

3. Space Environment Management: Framing the Objective and Setting Priorities for Controlling Orbital Debris Risk

This paper discusses the need for Space Environment Management (SEM) as an important element of assuring safe satellite operations in LEO. While characterizing the environment and actively avoiding collisions (Space Traffic Management) are necessary to assure safe operations, these activities alone are not sufficient. The paper makes the case that managing the environment is equally critical if we are to achieve sustainable operations in the long term. Debris Mitigation and Debris Remediation: not generating more debris and cleaning up large, derelict objects already circling the globe, are key elements of Space Environment Management (SEM).

“Since OneWeb launched its Responsible Space initiative in June, we have been heartened by the support and offers of collaboration from across the industry. We are taking our work to the next level by actively investing in the academic, technical and practical space protection agenda,” said Tim Maclay, Director of Mission Systems Engineering. “Taking a leadership position on this topic is about collaborating to make sure future generations can benefit from the New Space ecosystem and taking necessary actions to maintain a sustainable environment to achieve this aim.”

These IAC papers can be found at: https://www.oneweb.world/responsible-space

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About OneWeb

OneWeb's mission is to enable Internet access for everyone, everywhere. OneWeb is building a communications network with a constellation of Low Earth Orbit satellites that will provide connectivity to people around the world. OneWeb is creating business solutions for Broadband, Government and Cellular Backhaul. Its high speed, low latency, network will offer game-changing Mobility solutions to industries that rely on global connectivity, such as Aviation, Maritime, Automotive, Trains and more. http://www.oneweb.world

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