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Space Traffic Management: Standardizing On-Orbit Behavior

  • P.J. Blount (a1)
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As the number and intensity of space activities increase, so will the need for rules on Space Traffic Management (STM). Emerging technologies such as mega-constellations, which are satellite constellations consisting of hundreds or even thousands of satellites, may stretch the limits of the current informal coordination system. The goal of this essay is to discuss the critical elements of a system of STM that would, through standardization, establish trust in the resulting system. The standardization elements will be divided into three categories: data standards, processing standards, and legal standards. I argue that a system of STM requires standardized practices that are based on a strong technical foundation in order to enhance trust among space actors. After discussing the types of standards that are needed for STM, I turn to possible paths for achieving a globally effective STM system.

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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
References
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1 Int'l Acad. of Astronautics, Cosmic Study on Space Traffic Management 10 (2006).

2 White House, Space Policy Directive 3: Space Traffic Management, Sec. 2 (June 18, 2018).

3 Tanja Masson-Zwaan, New States in Space, 113 AJIL Unbound 98 (2019).

4 Setsuko Aoki, Domestic Legal Conditions for Space Activities in Asia, 113 AJIL Unbound 103 (2019); Brian R. Israel, Space Resources in the Evolutionary Course of Space Lawmaking, 113 AJIL Unbound 114 (2019); Paul B. Larsen, Commercial Operator Liability in the New Space Era, 113 AJIL Unbound 109 (2019).

6 Saadia M. Pekkanen, Governing the New Space Race, 113 AJIL Unbound 92 (2019).

9 Chow, supra note 7, at 4–6.

10 Brian Weeden, Billiards in Space, Space Rev. (Feb. 23, 2009).

11 Israel, supra note 5, at 118–119.

12 For a fuller assessment of this idea, see Space Traffic Management: How to Prevent a Real Life “Gravity”: Hearing Before the Subcomm. on Space of the H. Comm. on Science, Space, and Technology, 113 Cong. 113–74 (2014) (written testimony of P.J. Blount, Adjunct Prof., Air & Space Law, Univ. of Miss. Sch. of L.).

13 Matthew T. King & Laurie R. Blank, International Law and Security in Outer Space: Now and Tomorrow, 113 AJIL Unbound 125 (2019).

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AJIL Unbound
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2398-7723
  • URL: /core/journals/american-journal-of-international-law
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