Adam Afriyie – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Adam Afriyie on 2016-06-07.

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what steps the Government is taking to promote action to remove space debris.

Joseph Johnson

The United Kingdom, through the UK Space Agency (UKSA), is one of the thirteen members of the Inter-Agency Debris Coordination (IADC) Committee, which considers the risks posed by space debris. Our national experts, along with more than a hundred experts from other agencies including NASA, met at Harwell in March 2016 for the annual IADC meeting to discuss many issues, including the need for the removal of space debris from orbit, and how that could best be accomplished.

The UK is leading studies in partnership with other national agencies to model the future space environment and identify the most effective ways of mitigating the future hazard of space debris.

UKSA is working with its international partners in technical forums such as the IADC to develop scientific consensus on the best way to manage the hazard posed by debris, such as how many objects might need to be removed, and from where. UKSA is also working to build political consensus within UN forums such as the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to enable such missions to go ahead with appropriate supervision and support from the international community. This includes developing appropriate regulatory/oversight frameworks within the UK’s Outer Space Act which allow such technologies to be tested and demonstrated safely in the increasingly congested and contested space environment.