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Article

Out into the Dark: Removing Space Debris from the Geostationary Orbit

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 6 2019
Keywords Space law, IADC, remediation, active space debris removal, Geostationary Orbit, GEO region, space debris mitigation guidelines, re-orbit guideline, Outer Space Treaty, Liability Convention
Authors Martha Mejía-Kaiser
AbstractAuthor's information

    During the first decades of placing space objects in the Geostationary Orbit, satellite owners and operators abandoned space objects at their end-of-life, or just freed the slot by removing their satellites with the last kilograms of fuel. Also rocket stages that propelled geostationary satellites were abandoned therein. Due to orbital perturbations at about 36,000 km, objects that do not have station-keeping systems can drift into the slots of neighboring satellites and disturb their operation. Space debris objects at this altitude take at least one million years to naturally de-orbit and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere. The accumulation of space debris objects that permanently cross the Geostationary Orbit is a growing hazard to operational satellites. Researchers at the IADC who published a set of Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines in 2002, identified the Geostationary Orbit as a ‘protected region’. One Mitigation Guideline recommends to re-orbit space objects that are reaching their end-of-life outside of this protected area. A growing number of States and international organizations reflect the IADC Mitigation Guidelines in national legislation, recommendations and standards. However, there is still an increase of large space debris objects in this area. Since it is not realistic to wait (up to one million years) for the natural deorbiting of these space objects, remediation measures need to be initiated, such as debris removal with external systems. This article describes the State practice of re-orbiting and proposes a strategy for debris removal to maintain a sustainable access and use of the Geostationary Orbit.


Martha Mejía-Kaiser
PhD in Political and Social Sciences, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Member of IISL Board of Directors. Independent Researcher.
Article

Access_open Akera v Mheni

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 11 2014
Authors Martha Mejía-Kaiser

Martha Mejía-Kaiser

Martha Mejía-Kaiser
Co-Chair Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Committee IISL

Dr. Martha Mejía-Kaiser

Martha Mejía-Kaiser
(Mexico/Germany), marthamejiak@aol.com. PhD in Political and Social Sciences (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México). IISL Member. Co-Chair Manfred Lachs Moot Court Committee, IISL. Independent Researcher. This paper represents the personal opinion of the author and shall not be attributed to any organization with which she is affiliated.

Dr. Martha Mejía-Kaiser
Co-Chair, Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Committee, IISL
Article

Collision Course: 2009 Iridium-Cosmos Crash

Third Party Liability Issues in Commercial Space Activities

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2009
Authors M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser

J. Hong

J. Bonin

M. Mejia-Kaiser

M. Sundahl

C. Doldirina

C. Jorgenson
Article

Removal of Non-Functional Space Objects without Prior Consent

New Legal Developments in the Protection of the Space Environment

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2007
Authors M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser

V. Gopala Krishnan

M. Mejia-Kaiser

R. Kaul

T. Masson-Zwaan
Article

Taking Garbage Outside: The Geostationary Orbit and Graveyard Orbits

Other Legal Matters, Including the Relationship Between Government and Private Sector in Space Activities

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 6 2006
Authors M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser

P. Vorwig

S. Ospina

M. Mejia-Kaiser

K. Gable

R. Lee

T. Masson-Zwaan
Article

Space Passenger Liability

Other Legal Matters I, Including Legal Aspects of Sub-Orbital Flights

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 3 2005
Authors S. Kaiser and M. Mejía-Kaiser

S. Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser

S. Aoki

Y. Hashimoto

M. Uchitomi

S. Nandakumar

T. Masson-Zwaan
Article

The 1989 Berlin Court Decision on Copyright to a Space Remote Sensing Image

New Developments in National Space Legislation

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 2004
Authors M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser

P. Salin

M. Ejova

A.A. Golrounia

K. Weidaw

M. Mejia-Kaiser

P. Achilleas

M. Mejia-Kaiser

L. Covert

U. Bohlmann

G. Goh
Article

Proprietary Rights in Remote Sensing Images

Legal Aspects of Commercial Space Activities

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 1 1995
Authors M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser

M. Mejía-Kaiser
Article

An International Remote Sensing Cartel?

Recent Developments in Space Law with Special Emphasis on Nuclear Power Sources

Journal International Institute of Space Law, Issue 4 1993
Authors M. Mejia-Kaiser

M. Mejia-Kaiser
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