Published new “rules of the road” in space

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(ORDO NEWS) — The Space Security Coalition (SSC) published a new document containing the rules for the safe control of spacecraft in orbit.

This document, titled “Best Practices for the Sustainability of Space Operations”, is a guide for all satellite operators who want to conduct their orbital operations safely.

This document was supported by 27 companies and organizations, including the largest satellite operators: GEO Inmarsat, Intelsat, SES, LEO Iridium and Planet. The previous version of the rules was carried out by more than 60 participants in space traffic.

According to the rules of the document, all spacecraft in orbit are divided into five categories depending on their maneuverability: non-maneuverable, minimally maneuverable, maneuverable, objects with automatic collision avoidance and spacecraft with a crew.

The rules also contain instructions on how vehicles must give way to each other. In general, maneuvers take precedence in favor of more complex spacecraft unless otherwise agreed.

For example, during the approach of a maneuverable spacecraft with one that automatically avoids collisions, the latter must maneuver.

Special coordination may be required in cases where two spacecraft of the same category collide.

The new document builds on work begun in 2019 by the Space Security Coalition, which was formed to develop in-orbit safety standards with input from commercial and government satellite operators, spacecraft and launch vehicle manufacturers, industry representatives and other key stakeholders.

New rules for the safety of spacecraft control in space will be an important step in ensuring safety in orbit.

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