Thursday 07 March
15:40 - 16:30 | Keynote Theatre
Moving towards a sustainable future in space and setting the scene for a circular economy
Ensuring the long-term sustainability would become crucial if we want to guarantee space for future generations. ESA intends to become space-debris neutral by 2030 and seeks to recycle, refurbish, repurpose and reuse by 2050. While the industry is moving towards more sustainable operations and more companies are emerging to call for a safer space environment, the industry is still decades behind in unlocking the potential of a circular space economy. On-obit manufacturing, assembly and recycling capabilities will be needed to ensure a long-term circular economy and underscore the significant growth potential in the in-orbit services market. Capabilities such as space-based solar power and In-orbit computing and data centres have also started to emerge, which would contribute to sustainability both in orbit and on Earth.
This session will analyse the challenges relating to the time-to-market gap and what would be the affordable growth capability. It will bring together various stakeholders of the industry to discuss sustainability, both in orbit and on earth, optimizing the use of resources, stimulating innovation and developing technologies that can contribute to the sustainable development goals. It will aim to understand why the evolution of the on-orbit services segment is relatively slow. Is it a lack of technological advancements, a lack of financial support or a lack of political will to ‘recycle’? Most importantly, what are the key steps to bridge the capability gap and when would recycling in space become a reality? What is the industry’s current position and how far are we to reach to a circular space economy?