Commercial satellite operators should take part in the increasing discussion about space law, according to a Eutelsat executive on 16 March. The topic of how to keep space a stable place is one that military and government officials in the United States, as well as other countries, are still debating. However, commercial satellite providers must be included in this debate, according to David Bertolotti, director of institutional and foreign relations at Eutelsat, which is a Paris-centered telecommunications provider.

Bertolotti stated at an online session organized by the Secure World Foundation, “We think we have a big role in this security-related discussion.” Eutelsat is a satellite operator with a collection of 37 satellites that cover over a billion people in 150 countries. He noted that the sector “has more to add to the discussion on space security.” “To put it simply, it is also the secret to protecting our profits,” says Bertolotti. The global community, headed by space-faring countries such as the United States as well as NATO allies, is contemplating drafting language to complement the 1967 Outer Space Treaty, which is the main international agreement covering space security. The treaty prohibits the deployment of nuclear weapons in space as well as the militarization of the celestial bodies, including the moon.

The Outer Space Treaty has also been surpassed by the exponential growth of commercial and government space operations, according to advocates of a current deal, as well as new rules are required to prevent aggressive actions such as deliberate jamming of the satellite signals and missile attacks against the low-orbiting satellites. Private players getting access to space was unimaginable in the 1960s as well as1970s, according to Bertolotti. “And now it’s nearly the other way around.” He thinks it’s worth thinking about how much of a say corporation should have in the space treaty. “Maybe we should focus on the history of climate-related agreements, where private parties are already allowed to engage in the multilateral process.”

According to Bertolotti, conduct standards must also refer to ground-centered infrastructure that manages satellites. “Please understand that the safety and protection of space activities do not begin in space for a space operator; they begin on the ground.” Anti-satellite missile experiments garner a lot of interest, but operators are more concerned about electronic disturbances, according to him. “Interference has been a nightmare for all operators since the dawn of the telecommunications age.”

By Adam

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