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First fine for space debris: A warning for space companies

The first fine for space debris has been issued. An American company that had failed to clean up its space junk has been fined $150.000.

For some time now ‘junk’ has been floating around Earth: debris, rocket stages, satellites ... This has had no consequences up to now. However, on Sunday 2 October, the US Federal Communications Administration handed out the first fine. Various media outlets in the Netherlands reported on this and asked university lecturer Tanja Masson-Zwaan to comment.

'This can mainly be seen as a warning', says Masson-Zwaan on EenVandaagShe finds this development 'very interesting'. 'Apparently, it is considered increasingly important that companies comply with measures.'

There are no global, binding rules stating that countries have to ‘clean up’ their space debris (RTL Nieuws). RTL Nieuws also asked Masson-Zwaan for her opinion: 'The international Outer Space Treaty does state that you must not disturb the activities of other parties in space. So you could say that leaving space debris behind can also cause disruption.'

The rules were drawn up a long time ago, but until now they have not been strictly enforced. Masson-Zwaan in EenVandaag'It’s getting increasingly full in space, so it would be wise to remove elaborate satellites from useful orbits so that they can be used again in the future.’

Find out more?

Read the full article in RTLNieuws and watch the full fragment on EenVandaag (in Dutch).

Tanja Masson-Zwaan was also a guest on the NOS programme 'Met het Oog op Morgen' to talk about the topic.

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