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ISRO Chairman seeks coordination among space agencies to tackle space debris

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Given the challenges posed by space debris and the growing traffic in space, ISRO Chairman S Somanath on Tuesday emphasised the importance of enhanced coordination and collaboration among space agencies and organisations.

“Working together can help develop strategies, guidelines, and technologies to mitigate risks and ensure the sustainable use of space” he said addressing the 42nd Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) Annual Meeting here.

Somanath pointed out the increasing congestion in space, especially in Earth-moon systems and other regions of solar planetary exploration. “This congestion is primarily due to the accumulation of space debris and the rising number of satellites, spacecraft, and missions,” he said.

Recognising the expanding scope of space exploration beyond Earth’s orbit, Somanath stressed the need for developing advanced skills and capabilities, which include expertise in navigating complex space environments, managing space assets, and conducting missions to distant celestial bodies.

Speaking to reporters after the inauguration of the IADC annual meeting, Somanath said ISRO has a well-defined programme focused on space exploration and utilisation. “It currently has 54 spacecraft in orbit, along with non-functional objects,” he said.

“ISRO takes careful actions to dispose of or remove space objects from active roles once their missions are over and prioritise bringing these objects to a safe location to mitigate the risks associated with space debris,” he said.

ISRO also implements careful design and principles in the systems they launch, including the upper stages of rockets or spacecraft, Somanath said. “It aims to remove all energetic possibilities within these systems to prevent the creation of additional space debris,” he said.

The meeting will address various aspects such as orbital prediction, collision, debris creation, tracking, mitigation, mathematical formulations, mechanical designs, principles, and legal issues concerning space debris, Somanath said.

Space debris is a growing concern as human activities in space increase. Collaborative efforts like those facilitated by the IADC are crucial for developing solutions and strategies to manage and mitigate the risks associated with space debris.

It is encouraging to see leaders like S Somanath advocating for collaboration and emphasising the shared responsibility of spacefaring nations in addressing the challenges posed by space debris and ensuring the long-term sustainability of space operations.

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