BOULDER, Colo., - Space is getting crowded. Aging satellites and space debris crowd low-Earth orbit, and launching new satellites adds to the collision risk. The most effective way to solve the space junk problem, according to a new study, is not to capture debris or deorbit old satellites: it's an international agreement to charge operators "orbital-use fees" for every satellite put into orbit, writes Kelsey Simpkins for Phys.org. Continue reading original article.
The Intelligent Aerospace take:
May 28, 2020 - Economist Matthew Burgess, a CIRES Fellow and co-author of the new paper referenced by Simkpkins, argues that by instituting use fees per satellite would quadruple the value of the satellite industry by 2040. The theory comes from the fact that there aren't currently any incentives for companies to change how they have been operating. After all, there are roughly 5,000 satellites in orbit currently, and roughly 15,000 other pieces of debris in Low-Earth Orbit.
"In other sectors, addressing the Tragedy of the Commons has often been a game of catch-up with substantial social costs. But the relatively young space industry can avoid these costs before they escalate," Burgess said.
Jamie Whitney, Associate Editor