19 March 2014, Brussels: Gerard Brachet

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Spacedebris“The safety and security of space activities”

WEDNESDAY 19 MARCH 2014

12h30 – Salle prigogine – Académie Royale de Belgique – Bruxelles

Lecture start at 12:30

Lecture in English

By Gérard BRACHET, former Director General of CNES, former Chairman of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), former Chairman and Member of the Air and Space Academy (AAE)

The safety and sustainability of space activities in earth orbit on the long term is a matter of increasing concern for space faring nations and regional space organizations as well as for commercial satellite operators. The accidental collision of two satellites, one of them operational, in March 2009 illustrated the risks associated with the proliferation of space debris, particularly in low Earth orbits. The anti-satellite test of January 2007 in which China destroyed one of its aging meteorological satellite, creating more than 3000 additional debris, reminded the international community that the use of weapons in outer space remains a permanent threat. In addition, the ever increasing number of actors in outer space, both governmental and private, challenges the present system for the management of the finite radio-electric spectrum available and for the allocation of the geostationary orbit slots. All this calls into question our ability to continue operating safely and without interference.

Many international initiatives have been taken in the recent years to tackle this issue such as the European Union’s proposed International Code of Conduct in outer space activities, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) working group on Long-Term Sustainability of Outer Space Activities, whose report and recommendations should be approved by COPUOS in June 2014, and the report of the UN Government Group of Experts on Transparency and Confidence-building in Outer Space, presented to the UN General Assembly in October 2013. These various initiatives will be described and how they can contribute to a safer and more secure environment for the sustainable use of outer space.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons

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Dr Jill Stuart is an academic based at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She is an expert in the politics, ethics and law of outer space exploration and exploitation. She is a frequent presence in the global media (print, radio, television, documentary) and regularly gives lectures around the world. From 2013-2017 she was Editor in Chief of the Elsevier journal Space Policy where she remains on the Editorial Board. She is also on the Board of Advisors of METI International, conducting scientific research into messaging potential extraterrestrial intelligence. She is one of an elite number of people to be endorsed by the UK Home Office as an Exceptional Talent Migrant/ World Leader in her Field. In 2015 she was awarded the prestigious Margaret Mead Award Lecture by the British Science Association in recognition of her cutting edge research. She is trained in both domestic and international mediation and has done consultancy work for the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. She has a sub-specialism in women, peace and security and gender based violence. She is a Trustee of Luton All Women’s Centre.