Earth orbits

A manifesto for cleaner orbits

Objects of such a small size, which on Earth are normally harmless, in orbit assume absolute importance in terms of danger for any type of satellite, becoming real projectiles with very high kinetic energy. An orbiting object can reach speeds of several thousands of kilometers per hour.

The Molniya Orbit and Satellites

The name of this orbit comes from the Molniya satellites program which was a series of civilian and military communications satellites developed by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Indeed these satellites have used this particular orbit since the mid 1960s, therefore giving its name to it.

ISEE-3: The First Satellite To Reach Lagrange Orbit

ISEE-3 is a satellite from the ISEE program “International Sun-Earth Explorer”. The purpose of this program was to study the relations between the solar wind and the terrestrial magnetosphere. Let us have a look!

The first come, first served technique in space law

The first come, first served technique, used for a long time in satellite telecommunications law in order to allocate the natural resources of space (geostationary orbit, frequency spectrum) between States, is in the foreground currently in the context of the allocation of domain names allowing access to the Internet.

Advertising in outer space: the beginnings of commercial drifts?

Advertising is everywhere: on posters (paper or digital), in magazines, on TV, on the Internet, in our smartphones, and even soon in our connected and autonomous cars. Is the next step the sky? Will we one day see giant billboards floating in the clouds… even in outer space?

The history of space elevators

The promoters of space elevators generally do not fail to mention the first published concrete attempt, that of the Tower of Babel. Literally “The Gate of the Gods”, it was a ziggurat, a two-story temple-tower, supposed to allow the Babylonians to reach a sacred domain where they would find their supreme god, who lived in the highest heavens.

The Bogotá Declaration and space law

By the Declaration Of The First Meeting Of Equatorial Countries or “Bogotá Declaration”, adopted on December 3, 1976, seven equatorial countries affirmed their sovereignty over the portions of geostationary orbit over their territory. These states are: Colombia, the Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kenya, Uganda and Zaire.

Why does the FAA uses 50 miles for defining outer space?

“Why does the FAA uses 50 miles for defining outer space?” is a question some of us might have asked ourselves, especially when looking at the question of the delimitation of outer space, the different approaches – spatialist or functionalist – to space activities.

Is the orbital environment a natural resource?

“Our orbital environment is a natural resource. Just as we need to protect our rivers, forests and oceans on Earth, we believe our orbits need to be monitored and maintained in order to be sustainable”. When a valuable, naturally-occurring resource, is difficult to substitute, its preservation is of prime importance.

Solar sails and their legal status

Solar sails (also called light sails, or photon sails) are a method of spacecraft propulsion using radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors. Based on the physics, a number of spaceflight missions to test solar propulsion and navigation, have been proposed since the 1980s. Let’s have a quick look at them and the legal status of these particular spacecraft.

Principles Relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Outer Space

The Principles Relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Outer Space were adopted by consensus on December 3, 1986. They provide a set of non-binding yet agreed and politically relevant principles to guide the activities of remote sensing by the United Nations member states.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Everything in the universe emits some kind of “light” (electromagnetic radiation or “EM” radiation, for short) but often it is not the kind of light that we are used to. This visible part consists of the colours that we see in a rainbow. Each of these colours actually corresponds to a different energy and a different wavelength.

An introduction to Remote Sensing

Remote sensing is defined by the English Oxford Dictionary as “the scanning of the Earth by satellite or high-flying aircraft in order to obtain information about it”. Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object and thus in contrast to on-site observation, especially the Earth.

The Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), an independent agency of the United States government, regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all fifty states of the United States of America.

An introduction to Space Applications

This article aims at comprehending the benefits of space applications from a user perspective, focusing on the creation of value in the space information value chain and examine space applications with a primary focus on Earth‐orbiting satellite systems and other complementary technologies.

An introduction to Orbital Mechanics

Orbital mechanics is the application of the laws of physics to describing the motion of spacecraft. It is one of the fundamental topics in astronautics and is essential to the design, implementation, and operation of a space mission. As well as defining the sorts of orbits that are possible, orbital mechanics is needed to determine spacecraft trajectories.

Badr-1, the first Pakistani satellite

Badr-1, meaning Full Moon-1 in Urdu, is the first Pakistani satellite. The Badr-1 was Pakistan’s first indigenously developed and manufactured digital communications and experimental artificial satellite. The spacecraft was launched into Low Earth Orbit (LEO) by China on July 16, 1990.

The 1921 Flag Right Declaration

The Declaration recognising the Right to a Flag of States having no Sea-coast is a 1921 multilateral treaty which legally recognised that a landlocked state (a sovereign state entirely enclosed by land, or whose only coastlines lie on closed seas) could be a maritime flag state; that is, that a landlocked state could register ships and sail them on the sea under its own flag.

Flag state and Space Law

With space objects, like vessels, a central register of objects launched into outer space was established and is maintained by the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The mandatory system of registering objects launched into outer space (for identification), like that of registering ships, contributes to the development of International Space Law governing the exploration and use of outer space. Let’s have a look at the similarities between the notion of flag state and Space Law.

Orbital slots and space congestion

Today, any company or nation planning to launch a satellite to GEO must apply to the ITU for an orbital slot, and popular regions over North America, Europe, and eastern Asia have become so congested that few or no slots are left for new entrants to the market. With most of the so-called hot orbital slots taken, what opportunities remain for satellite operators to develop new positions or make better use of the existing slots?