In 2016 the inaugural Global Space Traffic Management workshop was held in Edinburgh Scotland, with a group of global experts. What they found was that given the rate of technology change and the current Space 2.0 hype, it’s difficult to predict what space will look like in 10 years’ time, and therefore it’s difficult to accurately predict what kind of regulation and controls will be needed. But when we look at what we do know, we can draw some relatively straight forward goals and objectives. What we do know is as follows:
•       We will have more objects in space in 2026 than we have now, including mega-constellations of CubeSat’s in LEO.
•       There will be an increase in launch frequency.
•       A number of new services are being proposed including, refurbishment, replacement, and repair & refuelling of satellites, asteroid mining, tourism, etc.
•       Many of these new services will increase the frequency of on-orbit manoeuvres.
•       This increase in manoeuvring and increasing launch frequency will require a fundamental redesign of the space domain awareness capability to ensure the safety of flight and environment.
•       The Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) is the organization responsible for performing all of the orbit determination activity necessary to maintain the US space catalogue and providing collision avoidance warnings.
•       US congress are currently considering if another commercial or civil entity, such as the FAA, should be conducting, space catalogue, tracking and collision avoidance whist the Military concentrate on protecting and defending their valuable assets.
If we can agree on the need to establish a commercial/civil space traffic management entity, we need to explore what that capability may look like, what they will do, and how they would do it. The workshop in 2016 explored some the issues inherent in developing this capability including technology, policy, insurance and economics. More information on each of these can be found in the attached report.

The 2017 workshop will further explore what that capability may look like, what they will do, and how they would do it via a series of scenario based exercises.

Last updated: 12 Jul 2017 at 8:55