Space is getting crowded: the challenge of space traffic management
23 March 2018 at 12:00 in Sala Consiglio of the DAER, 2nd Floor, Building B12, Campus Bovisa
Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Aerospaziali
Via La Masa 34
Maria Piera Padula
Since the first spacecraft was launched into orbit more than 60 years ago, the number of satellites orbiting the Earth has significantly increased and so has the dependency of everyday technological systems to safe and continuous satellite operations. As the number of launches is expected to further boost in the near future, some orbital highways might soon be on the verge of congestion and the risk of collisions among objects unsustainable. These situations are handled by a complex system including several elements: observing the sky to monitor and track satellites in orbit, predicting their trajectories, anticipating the risk of collision and re-entry on the ground and acting on hazardous scenarios, as well as adapting future missions and spacecraft design to the risk of congested orbits. A key element relies on finding an appropriate solution for the handling of space traffic at international level, balancing on one side safety and sustainability in space and on earth with innovation and development. This represents one of the most dynamic and intricate challenges of the years to come as diverse scientific, legal and governance questions are starting to be investigated and are yet to be answered.
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