space debris; resilience; security; consensus; fault tolerance; intrusion tolerance
[en] Space debris, whether caused by anti-satellite weapons or from collisions with defunct vehicles, has become a serious threat to the safe and sustainable use of space. Technologies have been proposed to mitigate this problem by actively removing debris (ADR) by capturing and de-orbiting the targets (e.g., rendezvous operations, tethers, or harpoons) or by indirectly affecting the target’s orbit (e.g., using lasers). However, rather sooner than later, deploying ADR technologies against healthy satellites turns the tools for making space safer into anti-satellite weapons, capable of crippling other nations’ infrastructure. In an attempt to resolve the tool-versus-weapon dilemma, we discuss in this paper technical solutions that involve a paradigm shift in the Concept of Operations, but that also have the potential to avoid political implications and many concerns that currently prevent us from solving the space-debris problem. The solutions we advocate require consensus between involved stakeholders for all critical operations of an ADR system. We show it is technologically possible and, in fact, already well understood how to enforce that such operations can only be performed consensually. We sketch a distributed infrastructure, capable of supporting such operations among all stakeholders, enforcing agreement in international cooperation about where and for how long an ADR system gets activated, what targets it follows and where safety zones and objects are. In this way, stakeholders have to validate every piece of information to remove single points of failures, but more importantly to put the required mutual trust on solid and technologically enforced foundations.
Research center :
- Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) > CritiX - Critical and Extreme Security and Dependability
Author, co-author :
Graczyk, Rafal ; University of Luxembourg > Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SNT) > CritiX