External Intervention against Satellite Pollution in the World Circulation: The Orbital Tax

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The amount of earth's returning satellite debris continues to increase. This debris disrupts satellites and sometimes endangers astronauts. The problem is getting more serious and eventually making the low trajectory unusable. As humanity advances in an age of over-dependence on satellite-powered technologies, the pollution known as space debris from the congestion of satellites becomes undeniable. The space debris problem is growing every second and creating the risk of collisions in orbits around the world. Until now, little or no focus has been placed on developing legislation to solve the space debris problem. The Outer Space Treaty, which is considered the 'Magna Carta' of the law of space, is very general. On the other hand, the Convention on International Liability for Damage Caused by Space Objects establishes a regime of liability for damage caused by space objects. However, the 'Charter of Liability' focuses solely on causality and damage rather than preventing or mitigating debris in space. The Space Debris Reduction Guidelines, adopted by the United Nations in 2007, is the only international tool to deal with the space debris problem alone. This study proposes an orbital tax, which includes limitations to prevent orbital pollution for the solution of this problem. The proposed orbital tax will help measure the economic benefits of implementing out-of-orbit technologies by satellite operators with their satellites. Moreover, the additional costs of operating satellites will affect decisions to launch satellites in orbit. The proposed orbital tax is an internationally coordinated orbital use charge designed to influence satellite launch decisions. This tax is unlike launch charges charged from satellites prior to launch, since there are orbiting objects that pose a risk of direct collision with other satellites, they will be charged annually from the orbiting satellite. The orbital tax will be collected by the government where the satellite is registered. The orbital tax will act as a 'Pigouvian tax' and will reduce negative externalities by taxing the product associated with the externality. Examples of such taxes would be the carbon emission tax or plastic bags. The costs of externalities through this mechanism are afforded by the producer that produces such an externality. Orbital tax can vary depending on factors that determine the risk of one satellite colliding with another. These factors include the satellite's orbital path and height, structure, and property design. While the concept of orbital tax manifests itself as a good solution to tackling the problem of debris and overcrowding in space, it is not free from shortcomings. First, there is an important problem in the task of all states agree on a monotype rate. The difficulty of reaching such an agreement between states is overlooked by orbital tax advocates. The taxation of space, a new and important frontier, increases the potential for problems with international taxation. The commercial exploitation of space is becoming more commonplace with each passing day, and more and more plans to operate beyond our planet.
Orbit tax, space, political economy, public finance, taxation