SPRING SPECIAL

Canadian astronomers provide recommendations on Mega-Constellations

Artist rendering of LEO satellite network. Credit: SpaceQ.

An Independent Working Group of Astronomers has submitted a report to Canadian Space Agency outlining recommendations on the future of space exploration in Canada with a focus on the effects of mega-constellations on the astronomy community.

The report, Report on Mega-Constellations to the Government of Canada and the Canadian Space Agency, was prepared by Dr. Aaron Boley, Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy, University of British Columbia, and Co-Director, Outer Space Institute and Dr. Samantha Lawler, Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Campion College at the University of Regina. The report includes contributions, and was co-signed, by astronomers from across the Canada.

The report begins by saying “this document provides recommendations to the Government of Canada and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in response to their call for feedback on the future of Canadian space exploration. We focus on how the construction and long-term placement of mega-constellations of satellites into Earth orbit will affect astronomy and the view of the night sky by all peoples, with attention to all Canadians. We also highlight several environmental concerns associated with the construction and maintenance of these mega-constellations. The recommendations address ways that Canada can mitigate some of these negative effects.”

The recommendations are as follows and the full report can be viewed and downloaded below.

  1. Canada should prioritize at national and international levels implementing the recommendations in the IAU Dark & Quiet Skies report, or versions iterated upon in a multilateral forum, to the extent that is feasible.
  2. Canada should with all due speed update its Licencing of Space Stations (LSS) requirements to appropriately evaluate requests by mega-constellation satellite companies to broadcast in Canada, and to identify externalities.
  3. Canada should develop national policy and regulatory mechanisms to address externalities associated with mega-constellations.
  4. Canada should take a leadership role, through multilateral forums, in negotiating an international standard for addressing externalities associated with mega-constellations.
  5. Canada should expand its support of Space Domain Awareness and open satellite and debris information sharing.
  6. Canada should increase investment in radio astronomy hardware development.
  7. Canada should increase investment in astronomical data processing initiatives.
  8. Canada should with all due speed reassess national laws concerning space liability and, to the extent that is feasible, lead efforts to modernize or bring clarity to the international liability regime.
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About Marc Boucher

Marc Boucher
Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive Inc. Boucher has 20 years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 28 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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