FCC urges action to clean up space debris
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has urged for the issue of space debris to be addressed before space manufacturing ramps up, calling for new regulations in space.
At an inquiry on August 5th, the FCC assessed the current potential for in-space servicing, assembly and manufacturing (ISAM), outlining the need for regulation amidst a rise in space tourism.
Jessica Rosenworce, Chairwoman of the FCC, stated: “As we promote Space Innovation, we need to promote safety and responsibility. This is why this inquiry also considers how ISAM capabilities can lead to the development of new ways to clean up orbital debris.
“After all, there are thousands of metric tons of junk in space that if left unaddressed will constrain those new opportunities in the skies above and ISAM could help improve this environment.”
Last year, NASA reported that the Department of Defence’s global Space Surveillance Network were tracking more than 27,000 pieces of orbital debris, many of which were travelling at approximately 15,700 mph, posing large potential problems for spacecraft.
Amongst the debris, NASA highlighted that approximately 23,000 pieces were larger than a softball, whilst there are half a million pieces of debris the size of a marble or larger.