by Prof. Dr. George D. Kyriakopoulos

Space debris remains an acute problem for space activities, with important implications for space security. Since 2018, the UN COPUOS Legal Subcommittee (LSC) has been discussing, in addition to mitigation, the issue of space debris remediation. On-orbit satellite servicing (OOS) could be a complementary option in this direction. Thus, if satellites would be inspected and repaired in orbit while the malfunctions identified, the satellites will not become part of the debris population.

However, OOS is not yet supported at the legal level, although, within the COPUOS LSC, some States have already identified the need for a relevant legal framework. Moreover, the need for innovative solutions to the debris issue is clearly provided for in Guideline D.2 of the COPUOS Long-term Sustainability Guidelines.