Technology & Trade

Space Sweepers: The Advent of Debris Removal Business and Need for Space Norms

Join us for this year’s Turtle Bay Security Roundtable featuring a discussion with Mr. Nobu Okada, Founder and CEO of Astroscale, Vice President of the International Astronautical Federation, and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space. This roundtable will discuss the threats posed by space debris, the approach to tackling them, the wider implications for public-private ventures in space, and the need for norms of responsible behaviors.

Since 2011 , the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations has hosted the Turtle Bay Security Roundtable series in cooperation with the Stimson Center, an independent policy research center working to protect people, preserve the planet, and promote security & prosperity. The Roundtable convenes UN Member States, representatives of  the  UN  Secretariat, and  experts from  think tanks, industry, and academia to mutually inform and develop practical ideas that advance international peace and security. Since 2019 , the Turtle Bay Security Roundtable has worked to shed light on the complex nexus of emerging technologies and global peace and security. The series relaunches virtually in 2021 with a focus on the role of technology innovation and the private sector in outer space.

With the beginning of the  space age  over  60  years ago,  satellites were  launched into orbit to collect and communicate data. These activities in space have created debris as satellites reach the end of their lifespans, discarded rockets stay  in  orbit, and other detritus from satellite operations build up. The pieces of orbital debris that do not re- enter the Earth’ s atmosphere can continue to circle our planet for hundreds, and even thousands, of years. Space debris can collide with working satellites that people around the world  depend  on,  which  is  why  the  United  Nations has discussed best practices to minimize the amount of debris that is created. However, this will not be  enough to  ensure that  space is  usable over  the  long- term: debris must be removed as well. Companies like Astroscale plan to  help  reduce the amount of debris by focusing on both mitigation and removal.

Turtle Bay Roundtable Featured Speakers

Ambassador Ishikane Kimihiro, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations

Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, United Nations

Mr.  Nobu  Okada, Founder and  CEO  of Astroscale, and Vice President of the International Astronautical Federation and co-chair of the World Economic Forum’ s Global Future Council on Space

Brian Finlay, President & CEO, the Stimson Center

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