New space debris removal bill passes the Senate

The Senate advances bill that would direct NASA to support space debris management missions. This bill is a version of the bill passed last year by the Senate but ultimately not taken up by the House. This year, ORBITS Act, a reformed version of last years bill is now being debated by the House after having verbally cleared the Senate on July 27th.

The key reformation of this year’s ORBITS Act is the assignment of a list of debris needed to be removed to be done by Commerce Department instead of NASA. The Space Office of Commerce Department is developing a space traffic coordination system (TraCSS) that will take over civil space traffic coordination currently handled by DoD.

NASA will serve the role of research and development for TraCSS called HORIZON. In its role, NASA will serve to provide new innovative solutions to space debris and traffic management. The TraCSS system is set to deploy its initial capabilities by September of 2024 with goals of enabling more accurate predication to satellite space awareness efforts. NASA will allocate fund towards developing new technologies for space debris removal to assist the TraCSS.