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sustainability of outer space
12 November 2021

Launch of the “Net Zero Space” initiative|Press release

Press release 12/11/21 – Paris

On the occasion of the 4th edition of the Paris Peace Forum, actors from all over the world concerned by the long-term sustainability of outer space have launched the “Net Zero Space” initiative. From satellite operators to launchers, from space agencies to academia and the civil society, these stakeholders gathered to call to achieving sustainable use of outer space for the benefit of all humankind by 2030 by taking concrete actions to tackle the pressing challenge of reducing debris orbiting Earth.

Outer space is a vital component of critical services for our daily life. We are all space users, from phone calls to satellite tracking-based technologies and even financial transactions. Space infrastructures’ contribution to solving common challenges is crucial: Earth observation and remote sensing capacities play a significant role in the fight against climate change; development of space capacities benefit our societies by supporting the development of emerging economies and strengthening the global economy; and future and forthcoming technologies, such as space-based solar power could have a major impact on fostering more sustainable practices on Earth.

But the increase of activities in outer space has come with the rise in the amount of space debris. Orbiting Earth at a pace of 7 to 8 km per second, the smallest object can have dreadful consequences. On 29 May 2021, undetectable debris hit the International Space Station and put one of its mechanic arms out of use. On 10 February 2009, an active satellite from the US telecommunication company Iridium collided with a derelict Russian satellite, disrupting related services on Earth while creating more than 1,800 registered debris, i.e., debris that can be detected by current technologies. If space activities were to keep developing at this pace without clear actions to ensure the long-term sustainability of outer space, humankind would risk closing off the way to the final frontier for good.

The Paris Peace Forum is happy and honored to collaborate with space stakeholders around the globe to foster international, multi-actor collaboration to protect Earth’s orbital environment and contribute to global efforts in making outer space sustainable in the longer term. Arianespace, Astroscale, CGSTL/Chang Guang Satellite, CNES, EUSST, Eutelsat, ISIS BV, Planet, Share my Space, Spaceable are today paving the way to ensure sustainable use of outer space before it is too late. We hope to see many other actors join us in this task.