Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

group

Daytona Beach

Authors' Class Standing

Sophia Gustely, Senior Adriana Ordonez, Senior Ryan Kirby, Graduate

Lead Presenter's Name

Sophia Gustely

Lead Presenter's College

DB College of Business

Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Janet Tinoco

Abstract

The U.S. Department of Defense is tracking over 20,000 artificial satellites — payloads, rocket bodies, and other non-functioning articles, of which approximately 90% of these objects are categorized as debris. With no government mandates to remove or limit debris of the commercial sector’s own making in lower Earth orbit (LEO), the amount of space debris is rising at an alarming rate, as evidenced by the 50% increase over two years of defunct, yet orbiting, satellites. The implications for the space economy can be severe, ranging from higher operational costs to increased risk for humans and spacecraft safety.  Further, while technological solutions exist, business case solutions are yet to emerge and indeed may be more challenging to attain.

The main objective of this research is to investigate the pressing issue of space debris mitigation from a business perspective and find solutions for the commercial players. More specifically, through literature reviews, subject matter expert interviews, and survey data analytics, we investigate both the positive and negative incentives that can influence or create the business case. These range from reduction of insurance premiums to implementation of tax strategies; each incentive has its own direct or indirect impacts on space debris limitation. Lessons learned from other sectors and other countries are reviewed and evaluated.  Critical to our research is finding business solutions that create a safer space environment in LEO without simultaneously creating a disadvantage to U.S. companies competing in the business of space on a global scale. Through our research investigation, our data statistics from industry experts believe that space debris is a serious issue and there is a need to resolve the growth of space debris in LEO orbit. However, the results are split as far as what incentives would be best to facilitate the removal of space debris.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark, SURF, Research Abroad, Student Internal Grants, or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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Space Debris Mitigation: Understanding the Business Case and Proposing Solutions

The U.S. Department of Defense is tracking over 20,000 artificial satellites — payloads, rocket bodies, and other non-functioning articles, of which approximately 90% of these objects are categorized as debris. With no government mandates to remove or limit debris of the commercial sector’s own making in lower Earth orbit (LEO), the amount of space debris is rising at an alarming rate, as evidenced by the 50% increase over two years of defunct, yet orbiting, satellites. The implications for the space economy can be severe, ranging from higher operational costs to increased risk for humans and spacecraft safety.  Further, while technological solutions exist, business case solutions are yet to emerge and indeed may be more challenging to attain.

The main objective of this research is to investigate the pressing issue of space debris mitigation from a business perspective and find solutions for the commercial players. More specifically, through literature reviews, subject matter expert interviews, and survey data analytics, we investigate both the positive and negative incentives that can influence or create the business case. These range from reduction of insurance premiums to implementation of tax strategies; each incentive has its own direct or indirect impacts on space debris limitation. Lessons learned from other sectors and other countries are reviewed and evaluated.  Critical to our research is finding business solutions that create a safer space environment in LEO without simultaneously creating a disadvantage to U.S. companies competing in the business of space on a global scale. Through our research investigation, our data statistics from industry experts believe that space debris is a serious issue and there is a need to resolve the growth of space debris in LEO orbit. However, the results are split as far as what incentives would be best to facilitate the removal of space debris.

 

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