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Sustainable Satellite ManufacturinG

UKSA Space Cluster Microcredentials

06

Policy & Regulation in the Space Industry

  • Understand the European Space Policy Landscape: Gain an overview of the policy and regulatory framework in the European Space Sector. This includes the roles of government agencies, international agreements, and European Union regulations.
  • Understand key areas of regulation including launch, frequency allocation and debris removal
  • Focus on UK and Scottish Strategies: Understand the specific goals and priorities outlined in the UK Space Strategy and Scottish Space Strategy. Explore how these regional strategies align with broader European policies and regulations and support sector sustainability goals

Learning Objectives

  • The European space sector is governed by a complex framework that integrates national laws of member states, EU policies and regulations, and international agreements.
  • The aim is to foster innovation, ensure security and defense, and promote cooperation both within Europe and globally.
  • Key Components:
    • EU Space Policy: Directed by the European Commission, it focuses on leveraging space for societal and economic benefits, ensuring Europe's independent access to space, and enhancing Europe's role in global space governance.
    • European Space Agency (ESA): An intergovernmental organization dedicated to the exploration of space. Though independent of the EU, ESA works closely with the EU to implement its space policy and programs.
    • Copernicus and Galileo Programs: EU flagship space initiatives. Copernicus provides Earth observation data, while Galileo offers satellite navigation services.
    • International Cooperation: Europe engages in various international agreements and partnerships, such as those with NASA, to further space exploration and utilization.
    • Regulatory Measures: Include licensing of space activities, registration of space objects, and ensuring long-term sustainability of outer space activities.

European Space Sector Policy & Regulation

European Commission (EC):

  • Policy Making: Develops and proposes space policies and legislation for the EU.
  • Funding: Allocates budget and resources for space programs.
  • Coordination: Ensures coherence of space activities across EU member states and with international partners.
European Space Agency (ESA):
  • R&D and Missions: Conducts research and development, launches missions for exploration, Earth observation, and technology demonstration.
  • Collaboration: Works with EU institutions, member states, and international entities to implement space projects.
  • Capacity Building: Supports the development of the European space industry and technology base.
European GNSS Agency (GSA), now the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA):
  • Operational Management: Manages the EU's satellite navigation systems (Galileo and EGNOS).
  • Market Development: Promotes the adoption and development of GNSS applications and services.
  • Security Accreditation: Ensures the security of European space systems.
National Space Agencies:
  • Implementation: Execute national space programs in alignment with EU policies.
  • Regulation and Licensing: Oversee the licensing of space activities, ensuring compliance with national and international laws.
  • Innovation and Support: Foster innovation in the space sector, supporting research, development, and commercialisation.

Government Agencies

International Agreements:

  • United Nations Treaties on Outer Space: Europe adheres to international frameworks, including the Outer Space Treaty, Liability Convention, and others, guiding the peaceful use of outer space.
  • Bilateral Agreements: With countries such as the United States, Russia, and China for cooperative missions and technology exchange.
International Cooperation:
  • Treaty Compliance: Ensure adherence to international treaties and agreements, such as the Outer Space Treaty and space debris mitigation guidelines.
  • Collaborative Projects: Engage in international missions and projects, enhancing global cooperation in space exploration and utilization.
Challenges and Priorities:
  • Sustainability: Addressing space traffic management and space debris to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities.
  • Security: Enhancing the security of space infrastructure against natural and human-made threats.
  • Innovation and Competitiveness: Promoting innovation and maintaining the competitiveness of the European space sector in the global market.

International Agreements

  • Space Strategy for Europe: Outlines the EU's objectives in space exploration, market development, and security.
  • EU Space Programme Regulation: Establishes rules for the governance and funding of EU space activities, including Galileo, Copernicus, and the Space Situational Awareness program.
  • Space Traffic Management (STM): The EU is developing policies for managing space traffic and addressing space debris to ensure sustainable space activities.
Challenges & Opportunities of EU Regulation:
  • Balancing national interests with a unified European approach.
  • Addressing space traffic management and the mitigation of space debris.
  • Enhancing competitiveness in the global space market.

EU Regulations & Initatives

To ensure that space remains accessible, safe, and secure for all users, by implementing comprehensive regulations that address the complexities of modern space activities.

  • Launch Operations: Regulations governing the launching of satellites and other spacecraft to ensure safety and compliance with international standards.
  • Frequency Allocation: Managing the allocation of radio frequencies to prevent interference between space-based and terrestrial communication systems.
  • Space Debris Removal: Establishing guidelines and technologies for the mitigation and removal of space debris to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities.

Key Areas of Regulation

Significance:

  • Safety: Ensures the safety of life and property on Earth and in space during launch operations.
  • Compliance: Guarantees adherence to international treaties and agreements, such as the Outer Space Treaty.
  • Environmental Protection: Minimizes the environmental impact of launch activities on Earth's atmosphere and outer space.
Key Regulations:
  • Licensing of Launch Sites: Oversight of launch facilities to ensure operational safety and environmental compliance.
  • Vehicle Certification: Ensuring that launch vehicles meet stringent safety and reliability standards.
  • Liability and Insurance: Establishing clear guidelines for liability in case of accidents, and requirements for insurance to cover potential damages.

Regulating Launch

Significance:

  • Prevention of Interference: Ensures that satellite operations do not interfere with terrestrial telecommunications and other satellite services.
  • Global Communication: Facilitates international communication and broadcasting, critical for global connectivity and information exchange.
  • Resource Management: Effective allocation is essential for maximizing the utility of limited radio-frequency spectrum and orbital slots.
Key Regulations:
  • International Coordination: Through the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), countries negotiate frequency allocations and orbital slots.
  • National Regulation: National authorities regulate frequency use within their territories, in alignment with ITU agreements.
  • Spectrum Licensing: Licenses are issued to satellite operators for specific frequencies, with conditions to prevent interference.

Regulating Frequency Allocation

Significance:

  • Sustainability of Space Activities: Ensures the long-term usability of important orbits by mitigating the risk of collisions.
  • Safety of Space Operations: Protects operational satellites and human spaceflight from debris-related damages.
  • International Collaboration: Requires global cooperation to address the transboundary nature of space debris.
Key Regulations:
  • Mitigation Guidelines: Adoption of measures to minimize debris generation, such as post-mission disposal and passivation of spent stages.
  • Active Removal Initiatives: Development and deployment of technologies to remove existing debris from key orbital regions.
  • International Agreements: Strengthening global agreements and cooperation for debris monitoring and removal efforts.

Regulating Space Debris Removal

The UK Space Strategy outlines a comprehensive approach to ensuring that the United Kingdom becomes a leading player in the global space economy, with a particular emphasis on sustainability. This strategy demonstrates the UK's commitment to responsible use of space, addressing both environmental and long-term operational sustainability in space activities.Strategic Initiatives:

  • National Space Council: Establishing a governance framework to coordinate UK space activities with a focus on sustainability.
  • Partnerships for Sustainability: Engaging with international partners, commercial entities, and research institutions to advance sustainable space technologies and practices.
  • Regulatory Framework: Updating the UK's regulatory framework to encourage sustainable practices in the design, launch, and operation of space missions.
  • Education and Awareness: Promoting education and public awareness about the importance of sustainable space operations and the UK's role in it.

UK Space Strategy

Key Sustainability Goals:

  • Innovative Environmental Monitoring: Leveraging UK capabilities in satellite technology and data analysis to monitor climate change and support global environmental efforts.
  • Space Debris Mitigation: Committing to active participation in international efforts to mitigate space debris and implementing regulations that encourage the design of spacecraft and missions that minimize debris creation.
  • Sustainable Use of Space: Promoting the sustainable use of orbital slots and frequencies, reducing the risk of collisions, and ensuring the long-term accessibility of space for future generations.
  • Green Propulsion Technologies: Investing in research and development of environmentally friendly propulsion technologies to reduce the carbon footprint of launch operations.

UK Space Strategy & Sustainability

Scotland's Space Strategy

Scotland's Space Strategy sets a bold vision for becoming a leader in sustainable space operations. It underscores Scotland's commitment to leveraging its growing space sector to address global challenges like climate change and environmental sustainability, while also fostering economic growth and innovation within the space industry.Strategic Actions:

  • Collaboration with Academia and Industry: Strengthening partnerships between the government, academic institutions, and the private sector to drive innovation in sustainable space technologies.
  • Regulatory Leadership: Developing a regulatory framework that encourages sustainable practices across the entire lifecycle of space operations, from launch to deorbiting.
  • International Cooperation: Engaging in international dialogues and agreements to promote sustainable use of outer space, sharing Scotland's expertise and learning from global best practices.
  • Public Engagement and Education: Raising awareness about the importance of sustainability in space through education and public outreach programs, ensuring the community understands and supports Scotland's space ambitions.

Scottish Space Strategy

Sustainability Objectives:

  • Eco-Friendly Launch Operations: Pioneering the development of green spaceports and launch technologies to minimize environmental impact, particularly in the Highlands and Islands, aiming for carbon-neutral operations.
  • Space Data for Environmental Monitoring: Utilizing Scotland's strengths in satellite data analysis to monitor climate change, support renewable energy development, and manage natural resources more effectively.
  • Innovations in Space Debris Management: Leading in the research and application of technologies for the removal of space debris and the design of satellites that are safer, more durable, and fully recyclable.
  • Sustainable Economic Growth: Building a space sector that contributes to Scotland’s economy without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, focusing on high-value, sustainable jobs and industries.

Scottish Space Strategy & Sustainability

Impact of Sustainable Practices:

  • Environmental Monitoring: Scottish satellites contribute critical data for global environmental monitoring, aiding in the tracking of greenhouse gas emissions, monitoring deforestation, and observing ocean health.
  • Space Debris Reduction: By leading in the design of satellites that are less likely to contribute to space debris and more likely to be safely deorbited or captured for disposal, Scotland is setting a global example for responsible space operations.
Future Directions:
  • Green Launch Technology: Scotland aims to further develop and implement green propulsion and launch technologies, reducing the carbon footprint of accessing space.
  • International Collaboration: Expanding partnerships with international space agencies and industry leaders to share best practices in sustainability and collaborate on global sustainability initiatives.
  • Regulatory Framework Enhancement: The Scottish Government, in collaboration with the UK Space Agency, plans to refine regulatory measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of space activities, emphasizing the safe and environmentally responsible use of space.

Scottish Space Strategy & Sustainability

Spaceport Sutherland will be the UK's first spaceport. It is being developed as a Sustainable Spaceport.Integrated Design and Careful Site Selection:

  • Minimal environmental footprint, comparable to a smallholding farm.
  • Carbon-neutral operations integrated with the natural environment.
  • Launch operation centre designed to blend into the landscape, maintaining a low profile with a green roof, minimizing visibility to nearby communities.
  • Sutherland chosen for its avoidance of environmentally sensitive areas, confirmed by a two-year environmental impact assessment and endorsed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and NatureScot.
Environmental Protection and Restoration:
  • Restoration efforts for damaged peatland on the Mhoine Peninsula using displaced peat, addressing the impacts of historical peat harvesting.

Example - SpacePort Sutherland

Advancements in Rocket Technology:

  • Orbex to use renewable bio-propane for rocket fuel, reducing CO2 emissions by 90% compared to traditional fuels.
  • The Orbex Prime rocket designed for reusability to prevent debris on land, sea, or orbit.
Support for Climate Change Research:
  • Satellites launched for Earth observation purposes, enhancing understanding of climate change.
  • Collected data will contribute significantly to scientific research and the development of climate change mitigation strategies.

Case Study - SpacePort Sutherland

A Case Study in Sustainable Satellite Manufacturing

OneWeb

  • Purpose of the Constellation: OneWeb's satellite constellation aims to provide global high-speed internet coverage, focusing on remote and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Constellation Structure: The constellation consists of hundreds of satellites orbiting in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to ensure low-latency and high-bandwidth communication services.
  • Innovative Technology: Utilizes advanced satellite technology for seamless network integration, ensuring consistent and reliable internet access worldwide.
  • Global Impact: Significant contribution to bridging the digital divide, enhancing global connectivity and facilitating economic development in underserved regions.
  • Future Expansion: Ongoing plans to expand the constellation, further enhancing coverage and service capabilities.

Overview of the OneWeb Constellation

Efficient resource usage, waste reduction, and recycling are essential components of Oneweb's sustainable manufacturing practices.

Resource Efficiency

The company integrates solar energy solutions into satellite production, contributing to sustainable energy consumption.

Renewable Energy Integration

Oneweb incorporates eco-friendly materials in satellite construction, reducing its environmental footprint

Green Material usaGE

Case Study: Oneweb's Approach to Sustainable Manufacturing

Watch a video on the EUTELSAT website to better understand Oneweb's approach to satellite servicing.

Role of Satellite Servicing in Sustainability:

  • Satellite servicing plays a critical role in extending the operational life of satellites, reducing the need for frequent launches and thereby minimizing space debris.
Benefits of On-Orbit Servicing:
  • On-orbit servicing includes refueling, repairing, upgrading, or even repositioning satellites, which helps in maximizing their utility and lifespan.
Contribution to Environmental Protection:
  • Reduces the carbon footprint associated with building and launching new satellites.
Future Implications:
  • Emergence of satellite servicing as a sustainable practice is shaping the future of space missions, emphasizing the importance of long-term functionality over disposability.

Satellite Servicing for Sustainability

  • Innovative Approach: OneWeb has pioneered scalable and efficient production models in satellite manufacturing, focusing on mass production techniques to build its constellation.
  • High-Volume Manufacturing: Utilizing automated assembly lines and standardized components to facilitate the rapid production of hundreds of satellites.
  • Sustainability Impact: This approach significantly reduces per-unit cost and environmental impact, showcasing a sustainable model for future satellite constellations.
  • Future Trends: OneWeb's model is setting a benchmark in the industry, demonstrating the viability of large-scale satellite networks in a cost-effective and environmentally conscious manner.

Scalable & Efficient Production Models

Simplification and Standardisation:

  • Design Simplification: OneWeb's satellites were designed with a simplified structure to reduce the number of unique parts, making them easier and cheaper to manufacture.
  • Standardised Components: Wherever possible, the satellites utilise standardised components, reducing the need for custom parts and allowing for economies of scale in the procurement process.
2. Modular Design:
  • Modular Payloads: The satellites were designed with modular payloads, enabling the same satellite platform to be used across different missions. This modularity simplifies the manufacturing process and allows for more efficient assembly and testing.
3. Manufacturing Process Optimisation:
  • Assembly Line Production: OneWeb and its manufacturing partner, Airbus Defence and Space, developed a first-of-its-kind assembly line for satellites. This approach dramatically reduces the build time per satellite compared to traditional methods.
  • Automation: Significant parts of the assembly process are automated, reducing labor costs and time while increasing precision and repeatability.
4. Collaboration with Suppliers:
  • Early Supplier Involvement: Suppliers were involved early in the design process to ensure that components met both performance and manufacturability requirements.
  • Co-Development: Some components were co-developed with suppliers to optimize them for mass production, further reducing costs and lead times.
Outcomes:
  • Reduced Cost and Time: The DFM strategies employed by OneWeb and Airbus have significantly reduced the cost and time required to produce each satellite, making the large-scale deployment of the constellation feasible.
  • Increased Production Rate: The assembly line approach has enabled the production of satellites at an unprecedented rate, crucial for the rapid deployment of the constellation.

DFM & DFT at Oneweb

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