The World’s First Kitemark for Sustainable Space Exploration

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Lloyd’s has collaborated with the Lloyd’s Market Association (LMA), the UK government, and industry experts, to create this world-first kitemark to drive sustainability in space.

The kitemark is a produce and service quality trademark backed by the British Standards Institution. It is used to identify products where safety and assurance is vital, such as smoke alarms, flood defences and protective helmets. A kitemark certification means that a product or service has been tested independently and repeatedly by experts.

“The Space Sustainability Kitemark is an industry first, and will provide reassurance to both businesses and the end user that they are supporting innovation that is fit for the future,” said Lloyd’s Chief Executive Officer John Neal.

Lloyd’s has always played a crucial role in space exploration since insuring the first ever commercial satellite in 1965.

The kitemark – the Earth & Space Sustainability Initiative – focusses on the issue of space debris. The estimated 9,000 metric tons of junk in space threatens human spaceflight and robotic missions, as well as our weather forecasting, GPS and telecommunications systems.

The Earth & Space Sustainability Initiative and kitemark was first announced at the start of the United Nation’s Space Week earlier this year. The board of directors includes big names in the space and satellite sector, government, academia, and the insurance industry. Maurizio Vanotti, OneWeb Vice President of Global Markets, recently announced that he will represent OneWeb/his organisation on the board.

The UK Government has also announced a package of new measures to back the initiative. According to their website, the new measures will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.

“The huge increase in commercial satellite launches will see tens of thousands of small satellites launched in the next 10 years,” said Science Minister George Freeman at the Space Sustainability Summit in London. “To harness space for sustainability, we need an agreed framework of standards for measuring and managing debris, improving satellite repair and retrieval and kite-marking genuinely sustainable supply chains […] This plan will ensure a safe and sustainable commercial space sector which rewards responsible satellite programs by lowering the costs of launch licenses and insurance for sustainable satellites and space missions.”

Freeman also confirmed that the UK will conduct a regulatory review to encourage sustainable business practices, investment and growth. This will enable cutting-edge technological advancements like In-Orbit Service and Manufacturing (IOSM) and Active Debris removal (ADR), as well as sustainable development, to become the standard for future space operations.

This increase in government-backed space initiatives stand as testament to the industry’s value and growth. Backed by industry leaders and government officials, this programme marks an enormous leap towards a more sustainable space sector. With next-generation technologies and outside-the-box thinking, we can ensure that space will thrive and continue to benefit humanity into the future.