What is Clean Space?

Clean Space logo

Reaching for the sky leaves footprints on the ground. What price is paid by our terrestrial and space environments for the exploration and exploitation of space? How might environmental impacts be reduced in the future? 

With the Clean Space initiative, ESA will devote increasing attention to the environmental impacts of its activities, both on Earth and in space.
The first images of Earth from space helped underscore the fragility of our terrestrial environment, and the need to protect it. Today the environment is one of the fastest-moving sectors of European and world law. The space industry is not excused from these laws; it must operate within the same jurisdiction as the rest of the planet.

ESA has long been committed to maintaining the highest environmental standards for European citizens. Clean Space seeks to expand ESA’s knowledge of its own environmental impacts. This involves assessing the impacts of ESA's programmes with a view to adopting an eco-friendly approach, as a way of minimising these impacts in future. 

As well as ESA’s own activities, attention will be paid to work performed by European industry on its behalf, in order to characterise their impact on both the terrestrial environment and near-Earth space as fully as possible.

The process of ensuring the Agency’s compliance with current and upcoming regulations marks a first step in the process of transitioning its activities to a more sustainable footing through the adoption of clean technologies.  

Last update: 3 June 2013

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