Aqu 06, 02 / Jan 6, 18 07:33 UTC
Space Debris: an opportunity for Asgardia? ¶
Space Debris, especially in low Earth orbit, is an increasing concern. The Wikipedia entry is a good introduction to the issue and explains the threats. If space debris is not controlled soon, the frequency of collisions could become a chain reaction and create a debris cloud that causes those orbits to become unusable. Some governments, such as the USA and EU, have practices to mitigate debris, and the United Nations has voluntary guidelines. However, to quote the Wikipedia entry, "as of 2017 there is no binding international regulatory framework with no progress occurring at the respective UN body".
Drafting new space debris policy presents an opportunity for Asgardia to:
- Provide constructive leadership internationally, bolstering a case for our legitimacy. Once we have drafted a comprehensive debris policy, perhaps based on the UN voluntary guidelines, we could meet with respective stakeholders from space-faring nations and interested corporations (such as launch services, satellite manufactures, insurance, etc). These contacts would be excellent to retain for future Asgardian diplomacy.
- A possible source of Asgardia revenue by offering legal counsel and risk management expertise to space faring nations and corporations.
- An interesting business model for Asgardia exists in the form of obtaining funds (by taxation of interested parties? fines levied to institutions that failed to follow policy? UN and government funds earmarked for pollution?). The funds would be used to develop the capability to clear debris from important orbits, or tow debris to "junkyard" orbits. The ESA (e.Deorbit) and JAXA (Kounotori 6) have both active programs with different strategies.
- There exists a possibility of salvage rights. For instance, Tiangong-1 is currently out of control and classified as debris. It has 60 m^2 of solar arrays generating between 2.5 to 6 kW. Considering the cost of launching new panels, Tiangong's panels are worth over $2 million just by launch costs alone if they can be re-purposed. Maybe our first property designation should be a "junkyard" orbit? Imagine if we could salvage something as massive as Tiangong-1 and start up our first space station! Space salvage is perhaps a little ahead of current needs, but those materials can wait in a safe orbit for when there is a need.
I hope this sounds like an interesting discussion point that leads to something great. I have no legal or political background, but this seems like a great way for Asgardia to bootstrap itself as a political entity with nothing but hard work that could lead to our first successful diplomatic channels and industry.
Happy New Year!