FRS acts as the coordinator of the European project entitled "European Ways Forward for Space Traffic Management", in short SPACEWAYS, which officially started on 1 January 2021. This project, funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, is composed of 15 major European launcher and satellite manufacturers, operators, and service providers, as well as policy and legal research centres and institutes.
The consortium brings these key actors together to develop a collaborative European vision of STM. Coordinated by the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, this consortium is able to provide a complete review of STM stakes at each stage of the analysis, from concepts to industrialization, taking into account the evolution of legislation, and its impacts on technologies, space infrastructure and satellite operations. All key European actors in STM development, notably at the technical level, are stakeholders in this project.
The goal of the SPACEWAYS project is to provide recommendations and guidelines to the European Commission on Space Traffic Management (STM), especially its international and domestic dimensions. To this end, the project will characterise and understand the current changing context of STM. Indeed, current standardisation efforts led by the United States and China have the potential to set norms in a domain that remains largely unregulated. In this context, SPACEWAYS will focus on two main aspects of STM: an analysis of European capabilities and technology gaps, and a policy, legal and economic assessment of this domain, finally leading to recommendations and guidelines.
To ensure the study outputs are embraced by the whole European space community, external stakeholders, such as satellite operators and ground system manufacturers, will be actively involved with the stakeholder engagement program, and through regular contacts with our industrial partners.
As a result, SPACEWAYS intends to offer normative ways forward, with the aim to develop governance perspectives on STM during the project.
In a context of renewed efforts by the European Commission to ensure European technological sovereignty, the team believes that SPACEWAYS is a key and timely project. In a rapidly changing space environment, it is crucial to bring established industrial partners around a common understanding of STM issues as soon as possible. As a whole, our project proposes to set up a ‘policy lab’, which through the collaboration of all European actors that have a stake in this topic, will offer precursor elements to a European policy on STM.