Skip to main content
Skip to article control options
No Access

The Business and Economics of Space Sustainability

AIAA 2022-4225
Session: Lessons of Innovation Adoption
Published Online:

View Video Presentation:

Space is a critical part of our daily lives, and with more than 100,000 operational satellites forecasted to be in Earth’s orbit by 2030, our society is becoming more dependent on space assets than ever before. The growth of satellites in space also increases the collision risk on-orbit. Increased collisions not only affect the satellites themselves, but also businesses, governments, and society at-large, who rely on satellite services daily. A single collision could cause, on aggregate, an average loss of $7B in value to the space industry. With exponential growth imminent, efforts to make space safe, clean, and sustainable need to be addressed and implemented now. There are two main ways space sustainability is being addressed today. First is by industry custom. Operators use the Observe-Orient-Decide-Act loop framework to continually gather data and synthesize it to make operational decisions. Regulation is another aspect of space sustainability being debated across the globe. In this paper, we address both of these approaches to space sustainability by providing a survey of current frameworks and best practices as well as a qualitative ranking of those improvements. Finally, we discuss alternative approaches to space sustainability being devised through software and hardware advancements and new business models that aim to help keep space safe, clean, and sustainable for generations to come.