Promoting Sustainability Value in Earth's Orbit

Elena Cirkovic, Minoo Rathnasabapathy, Danielle Wood

Research output: Conference materialsPaperpeer-review


This paper aims to implement an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability and protection of the orbital environment in relation to the current commercial activities. It argues that orbital and planetary sustainability, and the corresponding evolution of domestic, international, and regional regulatory instruments, need to take place in conjunction with sustainability of the Earth System, where the term “Earth system" refers to Earth ́s interacting physical, chemical, and biological processes. It focuses on complex systems interaction in order to engage with important challenges that lie at the intersection of these domains. The paper approaches international outer space law, as an adaptive anthropogenic system, and its broader contextualisation in relation to Earth System and non- anthropogenic agencies. It then situates the role of private corporations and argues for the promotion of Sustainability Values and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in outer space and the Earth System. One of the possible mechanisms for CSR in space is the Space Sustainability Rating (SSR) which provides sustainability rating informed by transparent, data-based assessments of the level of sustainability of space missions. It seeks to foster voluntary action by satellite operators to reduce the risk of space debris, on-orbit collisions, and unsustainable space operations. The paper argues for an interdisciplinary, plural, and coordinated approaches to address the
environmental impact of anthropogenic activities in the outer space-Earth System interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventInternational Astronautical Congress - Paris, Paris, France
Duration: 18 Sept 202222 Sept 2022


ConferenceInternational Astronautical Congress
Abbreviated titleIAC
Internet address

Fields of Science

  • 222 Other engineering and technologies
  • 513 Law
  • 119 Other natural sciences
  • Research Affiliate

    Elena Cirkovic (Participant)

    Apr 2021

    Activity: Other activity typesOther

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