An EU Approach for Space Traffic Management – An EU contribution addressing a global challenge

Author (Corporate)
Series Details JOIN (2022) 4
Publication Date 15/02/2022
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Joint Communication published by the European Commission and EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on 15 February 2022, establishing a common approach for Space Traffic Management (STM).

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The increase in the number of satellites in orbit due to new developments in reusable launchers, small satellites and private initiatives in space, has also increased the risks facing the resilience and safety of space assets belonging to the European Union (EU) and its Member States. It has become important to preserve the long-term viability of space activities by ensuring that space remains a safe, secure and sustainable environment.

This makes Space Traffic Management a priority public policy issue. STM can be defined as the means and rules to access, conduct activities in, and return from outer space safely, sustainably and securely. The objective of this Joint Communication is to lay out a concrete EU approach on STM for a safe, sustainable and secure use of space, preserving EU interests in full compliance with the respective competences of the European Union and its Member States.

The approach focuses on four elements:

  • Assessing the STM civilian and military requirements and impacts for the EU;
  • Strengthening our technological capability to identify and track spacecraft and space debris;
  • Setting out the appropriate normative and legislative framework;
  • Establishing international partnerships on STM and engaging at a multilateral level.

The Joint Communication was published on 15 February 2022 as part of a so-called Space Package.

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Commentary and Analysis
Official Website of the Spaceways Project (H2020)
EurActiv: Opinion, 28/11/2019: Space traffic management – the next challenge for Europe’s leadership in space

Slovenian Government: News, 07/07/2021: European Space Traffic Management Conference
European Commission: Europe Fit for Digital Age: Space: EU initiatives for a satellite-based connectivity system and an EU approach on management of space traffic
European Commission: Press Release, 15/02/2022: Space: EU initiates a satellite-based connectivity system and boosts action on management of space traffic for a more digital and resilient Europe
European Commission: Questions and Answers: Space Traffic Management (15 February 2022)
European Commission: Space and defence press conference by Commissioner Breton (15 February 2022)

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