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Space and Sustainability

By Kavvinah Murali

Catalyst 2030 is a global movement of social entrepreneurs and social innovators from all sectors with a common goal of creating innovative, collaborative approaches to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

I was humbled and grateful to be invited as the moderator for a talk close to my heart, the ‘Space Sustainability’ session hosted by Captain Faiz Kamaludin. It was a talk that combined the two things I am passionate about: Space and Sustainability.

In yesterday’s session, we gathered input from people of various backgrounds on what space sustainability meant to them. Which SDGs they felt aligned most with the topic discussed and worked on feasible action plans required to achieve the said goals.

My key takeaways from the session:

1. Space Sustainability:
To maintain the space environment without causing further damage such as space debris or space junk when old satellites de-orbit.
Space Sustainability and Social Entrepreneurship (SE) is the ability of all humanity to continue exploring outer space for peaceful purposes and socioeconomic benefit over the long term.

2. Which Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) aligned most with Space Sustainability?
Goal 4: Quality Education.
Goal 7: Affordable, Clean, and Renewable Energy.
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production.
Goal 17: Partnerships to Achieve the Goal.

3. Call for Action:
Space Education:
Based on thoughts shared by Mr Samuel Gibbs, a space educator for more than 25 years:
In Southeast Asia, where he has primarily worked, there is huge enthusiasm amongst students of all levels in space education.
However, education systems need to be more mindful of providing a solid foundational education to equip students with the intellectual capacity to develop space. Subsequently, to strike up conversations and take actions necessary in bringing space technologies to their countries.
Skills-based development is vital in sustaining space infrastructure development but is still inadequate and needs to be refined.
Mr Gibbs shared his experience leading students in NASA’s Space Settlement Design Competition. He emphasised how outstanding outcomes and ideas can be generated without huge budgets. The primary focus should be on the commitment of key stakeholders in the space industry.

Responsible consumption of resources during space exploration:
Focus on alternatives such as SpaceX’s reusable rockets.
Renewable energy sources might also be worth looking into as an alternative to fuel-based spacecraft.

Author: Kavvinah Murali

Many people have a built-in mindset that space exploration is exclusively for scientists, engineers, or anyone in the field of STEM, for that matter. They have yet to realise the importance and impact of other sectors, like economics, finance, arts, music, or media and communications in the space sector. I hope everyone understands that space is for everyone, which means for you too!

Thank you for reading my first post. I hope this post strikes up constructive conversations as we continue to explore the endless boundaries of Space.


AstroX has been a proud member of Catalyst 2030 since June 2021

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