Commercial On-Orbit Satellite Servicing: National and International Policy Considerations Raised by Industry Proposals


Commercial on-orbit satellite servicing for the first time presents itself as a concrete and pressing policy issue in several countries. Several commercial entities are developing or contemplating capabilities that could enable cost-efficient in-space servicing and refueling in ways previously thought unfeasible. For example, in 2011, two commercial firms planned to develop a commercial servicing vehicle and perform the first commercial mission. Other commercial players have also announced servicing programs. A commercial servicing industry will evolve with its policy, legal, and regulatory environment. The policy choices of national governments, acting either individually or in concert, will determine whether a commercial servicing industry emerges and how it develops. We begin this article by describing commercial servicing and examining recent and proposed efforts at developing commercial servicing capabilities from technical and business perspectives. We then discuss the national and international policy choices that shape the prospects of an emerging commercial servicing industry.


History and Political Science

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Article - Journal

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© 2013 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Mar 2013