A new program spearheaded by the Japanese and U.K. governments will be launched next spring to rate companies engaged in space development businesses, the Sankei Shimbun learned on Nov. 5. Space debris is emerging as a planetary problem as there are more and more pieces of artificial satellites floating in outer space. The program is aimed at grading operators based on the measures they introduce to reduce space debris and prevent collisions between space debris and other satellites. High-rated firms will be granted preferential treatment in fund procurement and nonlife insurance coverage. Japan and the U.K. expect the program to help promote global measures to reduce space debris so humanity can make use of space in a stable fashion.
The new program will be set up by the World Economic Forum (WEF). To encourage other countries’ participation, Japan and the U.K. have led discussions on program design at the WEF. Now about 40 firms, including Airbus and Lockheed Martin, are considering adopting the program. (Abridged)