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The Cabinet Office releases guidebook for space debris mitigation — For a safe and sustainable outer space


The National Space Policy Secretariat, Cabinet Office, has compiled and published a guidebook on reducing space debris (or space garbage) for companies, colleges, universities, and other organizations that are planning the development and/or operation of artificial satellites or rockets. Sanae Takaichi, Minister of State for Space Policy, said, "With this guidebook we will take the lead in advancing our endeavors for safe and sustainable use of outer space. To reduce space debris, it is essential for both the private sector and the government to collaborate. It is also essential to obtain support and understanding from general public throughout the nation. The guidebook is available on the Cabinet Office website and is intended to inform companies, colleges, universities, and other organizations interested in space, ensuring widespread readership."

In today's world, governments and companies from various countries launch satellites into orbit for a variety of services and observations. Satellites play a vital role in ensuring our security, driving our economy, and facilitating other social activities. However, constellations of small artificial satellites and similar objects are contributing to the proliferation of machinery, debris, and other objects in the orbit. These satellites collide with each other and with existing space debris, thereby increasing the risk of collision.

In response, government bodies responsible for space traffic management convened a task force ministerial meeting in March 2022 to establish "mid- and long-term policy on the rules of the use of orbit." As a guiding principle for future efforts, they opted to compile a guidebook that contains design and operation expertise, supporting documents, and other types of information from space-related organizations like JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) and the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) and provide it to organizations in the private sector. Furthermore, at the G7 Science and Technology Ministers' Meeting in Sendai, a joint statement was made on the endeavors to accelerate the reduction of space-debris production under the leadership of Japan.

The guidebook was designed for organizations intending to develop and/or operate artificial satellites and rockets. It enables them to enhance their understanding of the necessary measures to prevent the buildup of space debris, thereby aiding their development, production, and operation. The guidebook outlines measures to prevent the production of space debris and exemplifies specific means for taking such measures.

You can download the guidebook from the Cabinet Office's website at ( (Japanese))

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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