Space Traffic Management (STM) Terms Definition

Aerospace Corporation published a document (October 2022) with recommended definition of STM-related terms based upon the consensus of the IAF STM Technical Committee members.

IAF STM TC members recommend harmonization for the following STM-related terms:

Collision Risk is the product of the likelihood and consequence of space object collision, either for a single close approach event or in total (aggregated over multiple close approach events).

Long-Term Sustainability (LTS) is readthe ability to maintain the conduct of space activities indefinitely into the future in a manner that realizes the objectives of equitable access to the benefits of the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, in order to meet the needs of the present generations while preserving the outer space environment for future generations.

Space Domain Awareness (SDA) is the effective identification, characterization, and understanding of any factor, passive or active, associated with the space domain (the area surrounding the Earth at altitudes equal to, or greater than, 100 km) that could affect space operations and thereby affect the security, safety, economy, or environment of a nation.

Space Environment Preservation (SEP) is the activity of preserving and sustaining the space operations environment, accomplished by space debris mitigation (including adherence to post-mission lifetime and disposal guidelines and rules, prevention of release of mission-related debris, and collision avoidance) and remediation (including derelict object removal, relocation, and collision prevention).

Space Situational Awareness (SSA) is the understanding, knowledge, characterization, and maintained awareness of the space environment: artificial space objects, including spacecraft, rocket bodies, mission-related objects and fragments; natural objects such as asteroids (including Near Earth Objects or NEOs), comets and meteoroids, effects from space weather, including solar activity and radiation; and potential risks to persons and property in space, on the ground and in air space, due to accidental or intentional re-entries, on-orbit explosions and release events, on-orbit collisions, radio frequency interference, and occurrences that could disrupt missions and services.

Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) is the detection, tracking, monitoring, cataloguing and prediction of the movement of space objects, and the identification and alerting of derived risks. It is comprised of the operation of ground-based or space-based sensors (radar, optical, passive RF) to survey, track and catalogue space objects, and the processing and analysis of orbital data to provide information and services such as conjunction analysis, analysis of space object re-entries and analysis of space object fragmentations.

Space Traffic Coordination (STC) is the cooperative planning, coordination, sharing of data and information, and on-orbit synchronization of space activities.

Space Traffic Management (STM) is the assurance value chain that contributes to a safe and sustainable space operations environment, composed of space traffic coordination (STC) and Regulation & Licensing and dependent on a foundation of continuous space situational awareness (SSA).

The full document is available for download here.