What ESSI means to you





A plume of smoke drifts in the air following a rocket launch
Rocket exhaust plume, courtesy Max Alexander, Our Fragile Space.





The night sky is our common human heritage. When you look up at the stars, you are sharing a view that has been seen by every other sighted human who has ever lived. For most of human history, all that has been visible in this remote realm were the natural celestial objects: the stars, and the planets, the Sun and the Moon.



That changed forever in 1957. Since the launch of Sputnik 1, the world’s first artificial satellite, we have also been able to see the moving dots of satellites circling our world. The services that these satellites offer, from communications and navigation, to earth monitoring and space science, now mean that our life on Earth depends on space.



The Earth∞Space Sustainability Initiative recognises the value of space, the Moon and other celestial bodies scientifically, culturally, socially and individually. It is about more than keeping satellites safe in orbit. It is about understanding and minimising a satellite’s environmental footprint throughout its life, from development to launch, operation and eventual demise.



This means that ESSI will mean different things to different groups of people depending upon their association with the night sky.








A satellite in a clean room, waiting for inspection
OneWeb constellation satellite in the Florida production facility, courtesy Max Alexander, Our Fragile Space.



ESSI for Industry


The falling cost of launch means that we are finding new and ever more exciting ways to provide services from space that enhance life on Earth. The desire for satellites is increasing as more countries become space fairing nations. We must ensure that we do this in a sustainable way.




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Spectators watch a rocket launching
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifts off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, courtesy Max Alexander, Our Fragile Space.



ESSI for Policy Makers


Earth and space are no longer separate realms. What happens in space inevitably influences events on Earth, and vice-versa. Space has become an extension of Earth’s environment, and a new frontier where human influence is felt. We must be the stewards of this new human environment.



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A laden container ship sits next to the dock
This container ship at Southampton port will use satellite navigation, courtesy Max Alexander, Our Fragile Space.



ESSI for the Public


The night sky is as it always was: a place of contemplation, beauty and awe. And yet – almost invisibly – our life on Earth now depends on space. Satellite communications and navigation are interlocked with so much of what we do. We must recognise this new relationship with space.



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