As we mark a historic day for the space sector, it is important to reflect not only on how far it has come but also on the direction in which it is heading. The world was a very different place 60 years ago when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space, or even 40 years ago when the NASA space shuttle first launched. Today, the biggest space race isn’t about the Moon or even Mars, it’s a race against time to tackle climate change and preserve our planet.Volodymyr Levykin, CEO and founder of Skyrora
The UK Government has repeatedly stated its commitment to establishing the UK as a global leader, in terms of both space tech and sustainability, and the country’s leadership of COP26 later this year will only serve to place an even brighter spotlight on these aims. The space sector itself has made huge strides in sustainability over the last 40 years, from fully reusable rockets to orbital vehicles to help clear the debris orbiting our planet, and the UK is at the forefront of these efforts.
The sustainability efforts made by space companies and organisations shouldn’t just be limited to things that everyday people can’t typically see. There has been significant progress in the UK around using otherwise non-recyclable waste plastic, such as polystyrene, as more eco-friendly aviation fuel, potentially removing thousands of tonnes of waste plastic from communities that would otherwise end up in landfills. Perhaps in another 40 years, as the sector continues to address environmental challenges here on Earth, we will look back on this period as the beginning of space efforts turning the tide on climate change.