Satellites in Earth orbits—such as remote sensing capabilities that support environmental monitoring or position, navigation, and timing networks that map our daily commutes—constitute critical civil and military infrastructure. Yet despite the inextricable importance of space-based services to everyday life, pervasive debris and disagreement about acceptable behaviors in space threaten the long-term security and sustainability of human activities in Earth orbits.
The Carnegie Space Project seeks to examine the implications of intensifying competition among space powers, develop a roadmap for international cooperative risk reduction in space, and facilitate responsible and sustainable progress on space governance.
The project focuses on two core issues:
Debris in Earth orbits—whether produced accidentally or created as a result of deliberate actions—poses a significant challenge to the continued use of space for scientific, economic and security purposes. Our project seeks to incentivize and secure commitments to significantly diminish, if not eliminate, creation of new space debris, and to validate responsible practices for removing orbital debris.
Enhancing Space Situational Awareness
Space situational awareness (SSA) is vital for effective international use of space orbits, yet there are neither current nor binding guidelines to regulate on-orbit behavior amid the rapid growth in space activity. Our project will identify approaches to improve SSA solutions, including commercial, international, or public interest-based platforms for space object registration and surveillance to support transparency and reinforce accountability.
All nations benefit from reducing risks in space. As a public interest organization with a global presence and network, Carnegie mobilizes international actors to explore merits of alternative approaches to mitigate debris and improve space situational awareness. We collaborate with commercial actors, key states, specialized insurers, industry organizations, and other interested stakeholders to identify incentives and design methods to improve operational predictability in space.