Presenter Information

Charles Lee Mudd Jr., Mudd LawFollow

Session

Technical Session 12: Constellation Missions

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

The response to Starlink solar reflectivity by some industry leaders, scientists, and other interested actors demonstrates the ability for diverse space actors to collaborate through dialogue and innovation to solve nuanced technological problems. These efforts should be encouraged and modeled to implement a response to and prevention of future dynamics that affect Earth’s orbital environment. In a separate but related context, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) proposed and implemented new regulations regarding orbital debris. In 2021, the final regulations on orbital debris mitigation should be adopted, published, and implemented. This context suggests that the policy climate within the FCC should be ripe for consideration of corollary regulations designed to mitigate adverse effects of satellites (e.g., solar reflectivity) on science, particularly astronomy and astrophysics, and other uses of space. Based on the foregoing, we can utilize the history of orbital debris regulation and the current climate favoring protection of Earth’s orbital environment to facilitate the more expeditious adoption of regulations addressing adverse effects of satellites. But, importantly, we need the cooperation and input of the satellite industry. Beyond providing policy input, industry should be encouraged to design and implement mitigating technology. So, too, should scientists play their part in adapting to the new era of satellites and mega constellations. And, they have done so. Everyone should also be encouraged and incentivized to share their developments. Together, the last year exhibited the potential for these independent and collective efforts to reach sound proposals for the present and future protection of Earth’s orbital environment. This presentation will briefly discuss the history of orbital debris and its regulation. This will include an overview of the new FCC orbital debris regulations of 2020 and 2021. It will also address recent developments with respect to satellites and the Starlink-effect. Applying one to the other, it will identify and propose specific measures to facilitate these combined efforts of all players to ensure we protect Earth’s orbital environment. In sum, this presentation will move us towards a solution that applies innate human innovation to policy, science, and technology. And, it will call for the cooperation of those in the satellite industry to join other actors to implement such a plan for the future of Earth’s orbital environment and space for all humankind (and other species) that enjoy and rely on a protected space.

Available for download on Saturday, August 07, 2021

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Aug 11th, 2:00 PM

Toward a Cohesive Management of Earth’s Orbital Environment: Applying Policy and Collaboration to a Design for the Present and Future

Utah State University, Logan, UT

The response to Starlink solar reflectivity by some industry leaders, scientists, and other interested actors demonstrates the ability for diverse space actors to collaborate through dialogue and innovation to solve nuanced technological problems. These efforts should be encouraged and modeled to implement a response to and prevention of future dynamics that affect Earth’s orbital environment. In a separate but related context, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) proposed and implemented new regulations regarding orbital debris. In 2021, the final regulations on orbital debris mitigation should be adopted, published, and implemented. This context suggests that the policy climate within the FCC should be ripe for consideration of corollary regulations designed to mitigate adverse effects of satellites (e.g., solar reflectivity) on science, particularly astronomy and astrophysics, and other uses of space. Based on the foregoing, we can utilize the history of orbital debris regulation and the current climate favoring protection of Earth’s orbital environment to facilitate the more expeditious adoption of regulations addressing adverse effects of satellites. But, importantly, we need the cooperation and input of the satellite industry. Beyond providing policy input, industry should be encouraged to design and implement mitigating technology. So, too, should scientists play their part in adapting to the new era of satellites and mega constellations. And, they have done so. Everyone should also be encouraged and incentivized to share their developments. Together, the last year exhibited the potential for these independent and collective efforts to reach sound proposals for the present and future protection of Earth’s orbital environment. This presentation will briefly discuss the history of orbital debris and its regulation. This will include an overview of the new FCC orbital debris regulations of 2020 and 2021. It will also address recent developments with respect to satellites and the Starlink-effect. Applying one to the other, it will identify and propose specific measures to facilitate these combined efforts of all players to ensure we protect Earth’s orbital environment. In sum, this presentation will move us towards a solution that applies innate human innovation to policy, science, and technology. And, it will call for the cooperation of those in the satellite industry to join other actors to implement such a plan for the future of Earth’s orbital environment and space for all humankind (and other species) that enjoy and rely on a protected space.