Environmental Task Force

A community led by Space Scotland & global partners across the space and environmental sectors, as well as government and academia, to better understand the true impact of the space industry on both Earth and low-Earth orbit.

This Task Force is co-chaired by Kristina Tamane and Daniel Smith and membership is open to anyone international organisations with a demonstrable interest in sustainable space, provided representatives are ready to commit time and energy to securing tangible outcomes.

We are actively seeking participation from more environmental charities – please get in touch!

Following the group’s Sustainable Space Challenges initiative, which is detailed below, we are now looking to move the findings from that project to the next phase. Work currently underway includes a Sustainability and Net Zero Roadmap, as well as a number of other initiatives that look to champion a more sustainable approach to space activity, across the value chain, from launch and in-orbit practices, through to downstream data capture. We’re also looking at the ancillary effects of space on transport, tourism, aircraft and shipping routes and much more.

Membership

  • University of Edinburgh
  • Astroscale Ltd.
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Topolytics ltd
  • Space Hub Sutherland
  • Prestwick Spaceport
  • Scottish Development International
  • AstroAgency
  • AAC Clydespace
  • Scottish Government
  • STFC
  • Sustainable Scotland Network
  • Think Tank Maths

  • Astrosat
  • Alden Legal
  • Friends of the Earth Scotland
  • NatureScot
  • Responsive Access
  • Saxavord Spaceport
  • University of Strathclyde

Initiatives to Date:

Space Sustainability Roadmap

The new strategy Space Sustainability, A Roadmap for Scotland, charts a path to a more sustainable Scottish space sector through a series of short, medium and long-term work packages. The roadmap was developed in consultation with leading international experts in space sustainability and stakeholders across the UK space sector, as well as extensive engagement with other industries that have embarked upon journeys towards a more environmentally conscious approach in support of Net Zero ambitions, in order to find relevant, transferable examples of effective practice.

Please follow this link to find the Roadmap for Scotland.

Sustainable Space Challenges

In early 2021, the Sustainable Space Challenges campaign engaged representatives from environmental groups, academia, schools, government and the wider public to urge submissions of environmental and sustainability focussed challenges to the growing and developing UK space sector. The campaign received a high number of submissions that were analysed and rated by a judging panel consisting of organisations such as Friends of the Earth, NatureScot, the University of Texas at Austin and the European Space Agency.

Three challenges were selected and passed to space sector volunteers to explore collaboratively during a series of workshops, which would ultimately help to better evaluate the carbon footprint of the industry’s value chain; satellite manufacturing, launch vehicle production, spaceport activity and satellite data analysis, whilst engaging proactively with environmental groups to identify opportunities to make a positive contribution to wider Net Zero targets.

On June 23rd, the outcomes of the sectoral workshops were shared with challengers and the judging panel for feedback, in front of an online audience of over 400 live viewers.

The event was open to the public and hosted by science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and Dr. Suzie Imber, who highlighted the importance of ongoing collaboration around sustainable spacefaring and aim to establish next steps, as we look to COP26 and beyond.

Challenges selected:

*Challenge One*

Identify ways to quantify, classify & assess the human-made space object population, leveraging big data (space and non-space) to better understand the nature of the space debris & orbital carrying capacity problem, whilst working towards the environmental protection of the near-earth space ecosystem.

Lead by: Derek Harris and Luke Vanstone

*Challenge Two*

Define a holistic, internationally adoptable approach to measuring the true impact of the space sector (direct and indirect) on the environment, to enable the reduction of carbon emissions & ensure a meaningful contribution towards wider net zero targets.

Lead by: Hina Khan

*Challenge Three*

Explore the development of an open & accessible digital library of space data that connects & empowers citizen science initiatives around diverse Earth-based environmental data, to support deeper insight & better decision making from space-sourced information.

Lead by: Sue Kee

To participate in the next steps of the Sustainable Space Challenges, contact admin@scottishspace.org.

Kristina Tamane & Daniel Smith
SSLC Environmental Task Force Co-Chairs

#SustainableSpaceSSLC