top of page

Space Sustainability


After determining the TRL of each technology, the benefits and risks of orbit transfer vehicles to U.S. defense stakeholders were analyzed. Key benefits of OTV technology include cislunar infrastructure development, mission lifetime extension, and cost savings; however, these advantages are often overshadowed by the potential national security and international space risks and lack of norms or legal framework to establish clear procedures and regulations. Potential policy and technology advances to address these issues are discussed in the upcoming report.


As the number of satellites in space continues to dramatically increase, the issue of space sustainability has become a rising concern. Space sustainability is multi-faceted and needs to be addressed through orbital debris mitigation, space situational awareness and traffic management, and on-orbit servicing. OSSTP is actively engaged in the issues of space sustainability and has conducted independent research in Post-Mission Disposal Compliance of Applicants to the FCC NSGO 2020 Processing Round and Orbit Transfer Vehicle Technologies through industry collaboration with space sustainability start-up, Astroscale. 

Post-Mission Disposal (PMD) Validation of FCC's Ka-band NGSO Processing Round Participants

In March of 2020, several NGSO FSS communication systems filed applications to the FCC for operations in the Ka-band. OSSTP analyzed the Post-Mission Disposal plans for ten of these applicants including: 

  • EOS Defense Systems 

  • Kepler Communications 

  • Kuiper 

  • Mangata 

  • New Spectrum Satellite 

  • O3b

  • OneWeb 

  • SpaceX

  • Telesat 

  • Viasat


Deorbit plans were analyzed by obtaining relevant information such as orbital elements and operations strategies from the Orbital Debris Assessment Reports provided to the FCC and performing PMD analysis using NASA’s Debris Assessment Software. 


To read the full paper and analysis, access is available through IEEE



Orbit Transfer Vehicle Technologies (OTV) for On-Orbit Servicing  


OSSTP and Astroscale are collaborating to perform an industry report and analysis of orbit transfer vehicle (OTV) technology. This report includes a technology readiness level (TRL) assessment, based on NASA’s definitions of TRL, of various companies developing orbit transfer vehicle technology including:

  • SpaceX 

  • Obruta Space Solutions 

  • Space Machines Company 

  • OSAM-1 (SAIC & Maxar) 

  • Astroscale 

  • Momentus Space 

  • Space Logistics (a Northrop Grumman subsidiary) 

  • Altius Space


Findings from this survey include identifying three companies (Momentus Space, Space Logistics, and Altius Space) as prominent corporations in the space sustainability sector due to their high TRLs.

bottom of page