About

Introducing the Project

Global investment on space activities is increasing rapidly, projecting an irreversible dependence on space application. Space science, policy and technical experts have called the attention to the fact that humanity’s continuous access to space is threatened, if the exponential and unsustainable proliferation of space activities continue induced by the global space community. As a fight back, 95 nation-states have recognized the need for collective action, when the landmark Guidelines for the Long-Term Sustainability Outer Space Activities of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (the LTS Guidelines) were adopted by the Committee in 2019, guiding all space actors – irrespective of their nature –, to make their space operations sustainable and hence, to protect our shared space environment.  ​

The 21 voluntary LTS Guidelines, are grouped into 4 Sections:
 
​A) Policy and regulatory framework ​

 

B) Safety of space operations
Sustainable spacecraft design 

 

C) International cooperation, capacity building and awareness
 

 

D) Scientific and technical research and development 
 

 

As the UN's dedicated space entity, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) sits at the crossroads of the global space community and is well placed to bring together both private and public stakeholders from across the community on the subject. The awareness-raising and capacity-building related to the implementation of the LTS Guidelines seeks to raise global awareness of the importance of space sustainability and the LTS Guidelines and to foster related capacity-building services for emerging space-faring nations. 

We believe, with the right actions today, we can still ensure our long-term future in space. 

Space sustainability in context

Space science and space applications advance our knowledge of the universe. They also improve the daily lives of people worldwide through their contributions to, among other things, environmental monitoring, management of natural resources, meteorological forecasting, climate modeling, satellite navigation, communications, and early warning systems to help mitigate potential disasters. ​

Space may seem vast, but the orbits around Earth in which satellites reside are a limited natural resource.​ At the same time, global space activities are booming. In 2020 the world registered 1,260 new satellites and other space objects with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). This is nearly 10% of all objects - ever registered - with the United Nations since the beginning of the Space Age in 1957. Over 65 countries are now conducting space activities. ​

It is not only the emerging number of space activities but the proliferation of space debris; the increasing complexity of space operations; the emergence of large constellations; and the increased risks of collision and interference with the operation of space objects have been recognized by the global space community as crucial factors that may affect the long-term sustainability of space activities. ​

If the international community wishes to increase access to the benefits of current space applications, and develop new technologies which may offer further benefits, there is a need to preserve and protect the outer space environment for use by future generations. Space activities need to be sustainable over the long term. ​ 

Addressing these developments and risks requires international cooperation by States and international intergovernmental organizations to avoid harm to the space environment and the safety of space operations. ​

The long-term sustainability of outer space activities has been and continues to be, a top area of focus for the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS).