One of the less crazy and more prosaic solutions to space junk is the Space Sustainability Rating (SSR) system. Unveiled last week by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the World Economic Forum, it promises to bring some order to the ‘wild west’ of space and ensure that future missions mitigate the chances of generating even more orbital junk.
From the beginning of 2022, spacecraft operators will be able to have their expeditions accredited by the SSR. The system will provide a peer-reviewed assessment of each mission, based on factors including the choice of orbit, measures taken to avoid collisions, and plans to exorbitate the satellites upon mission completion.
The accreditation system is voluntary, but supporters hope it will create a race to the top for space actors.
ESA’s Holger Krag, who helped develop the system, said: “The SSR aims to influence the behavior of all actors in spaceflight, especially commercial entities, and to help put sustainable practices into common use. we desperately need. “