On 21 June, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a ruling that called for every U.S.-licensed satellite launched after 18 March 2002 to be placed into a disposal orbit at the end of its useful life.
The new ruling is based on guidelines developed by the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordinating Committee (IADC), a group of 11 international space agencies whose goal is to minimize the growth of the space debris population.
The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) currently manages an international committee that is developing technical standards to help satellite operators implement the IADC guidelines and comply with the new FCC rule.
Worldwide members of Technical Committee 20/Subcommittee 14 (TC20/SC14) of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are currently at work on a set of standards based on the IADC guidelines.
"These standards will capture best practices in satellite design, manufacture and operation that support international space debris minimization goals," stated Dr. William Ailor, lead of the U.S. delegation on ISO's Orbital Debris Coordinating Working Group. "They will help satellite owners and operators be 'good citizens' in efforts to protect the near-Earth space environment."
Industry input is critical during the development phase of these standards. AIAA, under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), is responsible for coordinating all U.S. viewpoints and ensuring that U.S. interests are represented in resulting ISO standards.
This function is provided by the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to TC20/SC14. Please contact one of the individuals noted below if you would like to participate in the TAG.
AIAA also manages TC20/SC14 at a global level and encourages its international members' involvement in this standardization activity through their appropriate national ISO member body. Please contact Craig Day for information on international membership and participation.
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
NASA Orbital Debris Program Office
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Keeping Space Free Of Debris
Paris - Nov 27, 2003
On 22 February 1986, a European Ariane 1 launcher orbited SPOT 1, the first European Earth observation satellite decided by the governments of Belgium, Sweden and France. Initially designed to operate for three years, SPOT 1 has since supplied commercial operator Spot Image with more than 2.7 million high-quality satellite images.
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