Sustainable Space Challenges & Summit
For: Space Scotland (SSLC), Scottish Enterprise
Duration: Nov 2020 – July 2021
The Sustainable Space Challenges campaign was led by AstroAgency and the University of Edinburgh on behalf of Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force, engaging representatives from environmental groups, academia, schools, government and the wider public to urge submissions of environmental and sustainability focussed challenges to the growing and developing UK space sector to solve. After months of planning, stakeholder engagement and workshops with space companies and environmental groups, the results were showcased at the Sustainable Space Summit, in front of over 500 online viewers, with keynotes from Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and European Space Agency Director General Josef Aschbacher.
First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
ESA Director General, Josef Aschbacher
The initial outreach campaign for environmental challenges that the space sector should solve received a high number of submissions that were analysed and rated by a judging panel consisting of organisations such as Friends of the Earth, NatureScot, the University of Texas at Austin and the European Space Agency. Three challenges were selected and passed to space sector volunteers to explore collaboratively during a series of workshops, which would ultimately help to better evaluate the carbon footprint of the industry’s value chain; satellite manufacturing, launch vehicle production, spaceport activity and satellite data analysis, whilst engaging proactively with environmental groups to identify opportunities to make a positive contribution to wider Net Zero targets.
On June 23rd 2021, the outcomes of the sectoral workshops were shared with challengers and the judging panel for feedback, in front of an online audience of around 500 live viewers.
The event was open to the public and hosted by science broadcaster Dallas Campbell and Dr. Suzie Imber, who highlighted the importance of ongoing collaboration around sustainable spacefaring and aim to establish next steps, as we looked to COP26 in Glasgow and beyond.
Full Summit can be viewed here
Since then, Space Scotland’s Environmental Task Force and AstroAgency has been using learnings from the Sustainable Space Challenges to work with Scottish Enterprise on the development of a Space Sustainability Roadmap, while our team has spoken about the work above to international audiences at events such as Expo Dubai, COP26 and the Korea Space Forum in an attempt to rally the global space community to work collaborate across key environmental issues.