Abu Dhabi Space Debate and the Space Industry’s Most Pressing Challenges


Abu Dhabi Space Debate happened on December 5-6, 2022, where high-level industry and government personnel gathered to discuss and debate the space industry’s most pressing challenges and drive the new space economy.

One of the Big Debates held on Tuesday, December 6th, delved into the mega challenges that come with mega-constellations. Up for discussion were:

  1. Mega constellations vs. sustainability advocates
  2. Managing space debris
  3. Weaponized demonstration in space
  4. Debating the security and safety risks created by the uncontrolled launch of mega-constellations
  5. What programs can be put in place to avoid overcrowding of space while still ensuring inclusivity?
  6. Developing a sustainable governance system for LEO while private utilization of space increases


A second debate on December 6th focused on multiplying the impact of space agencies centered around four thought-provoking questions:

  1. How can space agencies have a transformational impact on the space environment?
  2. How are they utilizing space as a driver for the economy and advancement of science & technology?
  3. How can competition between newly established space agencies and established agencies be channeled to capture the energy of the space race?
  4. How do we redefine what it means to be a space agency in the age of commercial space programs?

Managing Editor at Payload Space, Ryan Duffy, moderated both debates and offered highlights.

Ryan’s Thoughts

“First conversation that I was a part of was about managing the risks of mega-constellations. The key is striking a balance between the development of low earth orbit and the sustainability of low earth orbit. Most panelists agreed that we aren’t striking the right balance currently, but a few pointed out that the big constellation operators are incentivized to keep space clean and sustainable, and also new technologies are coming online from debris removal to collision avoidance that will help accommodate the increased activity in Leo. The second conversation was with the heads of six national space agencies. What stood out the most to me is that these leaders have to sell their general public and, and policymakers as well as political leaders on the space vision and why it’s important.

That’s a challenge we also see in the industry. Another key point was that newer space-faring nations are learning from the successes and failures of space superpowers. Finally. I mean, there are 75-plus space agencies, and more and more activity year over year. It’s a great thing, but countries need, to work together, cooperation is key.

But the last thing, I’ve noticed that there are a ton of reasons to be optimistic here. There are a lot of ways to work together. Space can be unifying and a lot of these agencies are looking to work with companies and other organizations to further their goals rather than owning and operating everything in-house.”

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