King Charles III Unveils Astra Carta at Space Sustainability Event

King Charles III Unveils Astra Carta at Space Sustainability Event

King Charles III unveiled his Astra Carta seal at Buckingham Palace today to underscore his interest in space sustainability. Astronauts, aerospace executives, scientists and environmentalists were among the participants. The Astra Carta takes a broader view of space sustainability than only ensuring that Earth orbit remains usable for future generations, but also the role space plays in a sustainable future on the planet.

A long-time environmentalist, last year the then-Prince of Wales revealed his concept of the Astra Carta during a video address to the Secure World Foundation’s 4th Summit for Space Sustainability being held in London. He likened the Astra Carta to the Terra Carta he began a year earlier as part of his Sustainable Markets Initiative.

I have always felt that space is rather like the oceans here on Earth. We think them so vast and so alien that we don’t give too much thought to what we do. But we have to start seeing the immediate space around our precious planet as part of its environment…. We now recognize we have a duty to protect the oceans. We must also accept that we have a duty to protect the wider cosmos….

Having launched my Terra Carta for the planet in 2021, we are now working to create an Astra Carta to offer a similar framework for sustainability in space. … It would build on the Artemis Accords to establish both peaceful, but, crucially, sustainable space exploration, something to be agreed by all nations. …

Just as we are finally coming together to protect the natural world here on Earth let us now come together to protect the boundless, and potentially bountiful, worlds beyond.

One year later, now King Charles III, he is following through, releasing the Astra Carta seal and text at a meeting with top-level space leaders from government, industry and academia.

Source: The Royal Family website. June 28, 2023.

The statement from the Palace says the “Astra Carta aims to convene the private sector in creating and accelerating sustainable practices across the global space industry. It also recognises the unique role that space can play in creating a more sustainable future on Earth and the need for the space industry to consider environmental and sustainability impacts beyond our planet. Its ambition encourages a focus on placing sustainability at the core of space activity.”

The meeting with the King was preceded by a Space Sustainablity Symposium at the Royal Society. U.K. Minister of State for Science, Innovation, and Technology George Freeman, who also spoke at the Secure World Foundation’s summit last year, was host.

The text says the Astra Carta “aims to promote the peaceful expansion of humanity into the solar system and beyond by providing a roadmap of ethical and sustainable ambition, cooperation and innovation” and to “serve as a roadmap for the global private sector to align their space-related activities with sustainability goals, approaches and standards in partnership with governments, international organizations and other” stakeholders.

Photos from the Palace’s press release shows some of the space dignitaries who were present. Others have tweeted they were there.

King Charles III with astronauts Tim Peake (UK) and Chris Hadfield (Canada) and Secure World Foundation Executive Director Peter Martinez (far right).  June 28, 2023.
King Charles III shaking hands with British astrophysicist (and musician) Brian May, June 28, 2023.

Bruno, President and CEO of the United Space Alliance, recently shared his ideas on how to deal with space debris noting that for many years the space community would talk “gravely” about the problem and that “someday, irresponsible behavior in orbit could limit our access to space.” “But…, we never actually did very much about it.” Now we must.


This article has been updated.

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