Securing Space: Will Code of Conduct Discussions Help? A Perspective from Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
ECU Security Research Institute
Since 1957 the objects of human origin orbiting Earth have grown from one to a very large, unknown number. The US Air Force has characterised and routinely tracks in the order of 20,000 or so of these objects, many of which are in highly inclined Low Earth Orbits (LEO). Most of these objects are space junk—satellites that are no longer working, rocket casings, some intact and some in pieces, and a miscellany of other items. They all represent a collision risk to the operational satellites in the LEO domain. Space-faring nations and the international community more broadly, have come to understand that some parts of LEO space in particular have become increasingly congested to the point that new approaches are needed to preserve the LEO space environment as a safe and secure domain in which satellites may operate as intended, performing a range of missions including Earth observation, communications, astronomy and space weather monitoring and research.