[SPREC Insight VOL.16] Understanding Space Traffic Management (STM) and our response direction
  • By. 김지선
  • Date. 2024-01-22
  • View. 1,857

■ Concepts and issues of space traffic management (STM)

• (Definition) There are various definitions of space traffic management, and there is still no clear definition commonly used around the world.

- However, in the U.S. Space Policy Order No. 3 (SPD-3) issued in 2018, “space traffic management is defined as the planning, coordination, and orbit synchronization of activities that improve the safety, stability, and sustainability of operations in the space environment.”

• (Necessity) Space traffic management is necessary to prevent collisions in space and use space safely and continuously.

- Nowadays, it is no longer enough to just know the location of spacecraft and space debris; a common understanding and management of maneuver in a crowded environment is essential.

• (Main issues) Three issues can be derived according to the definition of space traffic management1)

- The issue of ‘the role of international and national organizations, etc.’ may arise.

- Difficulties in ‘establishing regulatory principles for STM’

- Difficulty in ‘securing technical components of STM’

■ Status of global response to space traffic management (STM)

• (USA) Space Policy Directive No. 3 announced by the Trump administration in 2018

- First, SSA data collection will remain a military mission, but data distribution and proximity data messaging (Conjunction Data Message* CDM) functions will be sought to be transferred to the civilian population.

- Second, pursue international cooperation to build an effective STM system.

- Third, support the establishment of open architecture data storage

• In the (Europe) example, efforts are being made to respond to STM by preparing strategies in four areas.

- The first is the ‘STM requirements and impact assessment for EU’ section.

- The second part is strengthening EU operational capabilities to support STM.

- The third is the ‘fostering of STM regulations’ aspect.

- The fourth part is ‘multilateral STM promotion’.

• (International framework) Related to space traffic management are the ‘UN International Treaty System on Outer Space’, ‘Measures for the Long-Term Sustainability of Space Debris and Space’, and ‘Geostationary Orbit Use Coordination System under ITU’.

- In addition, although various discussions are being carried out by major countries, discussions on systematic international space traffic management are not being clearly carried out.

• In addition to (private) international and national initiatives, many commercial players such as Exoanalytic Solutions, Leolabs, etc. are also active. Another notable player in this category of activity is the Space Data Association (SDA), an international association of commercial space operators that share SSA data with each other to improve collective security.

■ Examples of other fields where space traffic management can be applied

• ICAO in the aviation sector could serve as a model for an international coordinating body for STM.

• In addition, maritime data sharing models can also be useful in constructing an STM framework.

• In addition to the traditional transport and commercial domains, proven global data sharing models can also be found in weather monitoring.

■ Commercialization of Space Traffic Management (STM)

• It can be seen that one of the major directions of the U.S. STM policy is the commercialization of STM, and Europe is also implementing policies to promote related services with its own companies to respond to the commercialization of STM in the U.S.

- Commercialization of STM is beginning in the SSA and SST fields, and is expected to expand to the STM field in the long term.

• The commercialization of STM and the establishment of related regulations by specific countries and organizations may affect the autonomy and industrial competitiveness of other countries' space operations.

- U.S. space operations organizations must adhere to a set of guidelines and best practices defined for the country, so aspects such as autonomy and interests may be affected.

- The insurance industry is likely to require adoption of best-in-class services to strengthen financial risk management.

■ Direction of our response to space traffic management (STM)

• Need to establish governance and roles for space traffic management

- Define key tasks related to STM, identify government agencies with defined roles for the tasks, and promote clear division of tasks so that related tasks are carried out systematically.

- In our case, it is necessary to form a general organization for a comprehensive strategy and global response to STM.

• Need to strengthen institutions related to space transportation management

- (Establishment of a system for space object registration and management) It is necessary to establish a domestic institutionalization process to establish and follow launch vehicle launch approval and satellite registration procedures.

- (Establishment of a space debris reduction system) Based on the ‘Recommendation for the development and operation of space vehicles for space debris reduction (draft)’ prepared by the Ministry of Science and ICT in 2020, domestic related organizations are strengthening the binding force of the recommendation and making the corresponding recommendation. Encourage people to protect their policies and promote government support for necessary matters.

• Securing influence in global discussions by securing core technological capabilities in the space transportation management field

- Assets for tracking space objects need to be continuously expanded because multiple facilities/equipment must be built in multiple regions to obtain more precise tracking information.

- One of the key technological elements for long-term space traffic management is the need to secure highly efficient thrusters that can change the orbit of operating satellites to avoid collisions.

- In addition, it is necessary to secure related technologies such as rendezvous, docking, capture, and close flight for space debris removal.

This technology needs to be developed as well.

• Development strategies are also required on the private and commercial sides.

- In addition to utilizing existing capabilities, it is also necessary to create and foster a new domestic industrial ecosystem for SSA and STM based on active investment similar to that in the United States and Europe.

- The government/public sector needs to prepare observation facilities/equipment, regulations and standards, and the private sector needs to utilize data from the government/public sector to provide improved services.