What is the ESA Clean Space Initiative?

The European Space Agency (ESA) Clean Space initiative is a program aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the space industry, both on Earth and in space. Launched in 2012, the initiative focuses on four main areas:

Area of Focus Description
Eco-design Developing environmentally-friendly materials, technologies, and processes for space missions, from the design stage to the end-of-life stage. This includes using recyclable materials, reducing the use of hazardous substances, and designing spacecraft for easier deorbiting or disposal.
Space debris mitigation Implementing measures to minimize the generation of space debris and to mitigate its impact on current and future space missions. This includes developing technologies for active debris removal, collision avoidance, and satellite deorbiting.
Space debris remediation Researching and developing technologies to remove existing space debris from orbit. This includes missions and systems specifically designed to capture and remove non-functioning satellites, spent rocket stages, and other debris.
Sustainable space logistics Promoting responsible and sustainable practices throughout the entire lifecycle of space missions, from launch to disposal. This involves implementing measures to reduce the environmental impact of launches, improving the efficiency of space transportation, and ensuring the proper disposal of space assets at the end of their operational life.

The Clean Space initiative aims to ensure that the space environment remains sustainable for future generations by minimizing the potential risks posed by space debris and promoting responsible practices in the space sector.