Heads up: no-deal Brexit would mean less warning of space debris

Heads up: no-deal Brexit would mean less warning of space debris

   September 14, 2018  
 
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Heads up: no-deal Brexit would mean less warning of space debris

One decidedly unexpected effect of a no-deal Brexit would be the UK potentially getting less warning about space debris plummeting towards Earth.

The warning comes in a briefing paper on space and satellites, which notes the UK’s involvement in the EU space surveillance and tracking (EUSST) programme. Set up in 2014, it tracks orbiting debris that could pose a risk to satellites and issues “re-entry warnings”.

The programme began work in mid-2016 and is not yet fully functioning. Currently, a centre in the UK provides warnings about fragmentation of space debris and has a backup service for re-entry alerts.

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If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the document says, it will no longer be part of the programme in terms of developing it further and taking part.

However, as well as the UK’s tracking capabilities, which form part of the EUSST system, the document says the UK will continue to receive space, surveillance and tracking data from the US.

In a section detailing possible implications of a no-deal exit, the paper says a limited number of UK satellite owners and operators receive updates from the EUSST system. “We are seeking clarification from the European commission as to the potential impacts on access to services in the unlikely event of no deal,” it says.

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