The Principle of Equitable Access in the Age of Mega-Constellations
The principle of equitable access was introduced by the International Telecommunications Union to ensure that every nation, spacefaring or not, would have the possibility, at any time, to have access to space and to the necessary spectrum to communicate to and from satellites, without creating or receiving interferences to and from others. The principle applies specifically to the orbital slots and spectrum allocation procedures for the geosynchronous orbits belt, from where broadcasting has been conducted since the 1960s. Such principle does not have, instead, a direct enforcement in the allocation procedures for satellites in non-geosynchronous orbits. Given today’s increasing number of satellites proposed and launched, in particular as part of (mega-)constellations, and given the increasing concerns related to overcrowded low Earth orbits, this should be the right time to raise the issue on starting enforcing the principle in all orbits, before non-yet-spacefaring nations find themselves incredibly thwarted in launching one or more satellites, let alone fairly competing with space powers and spacefaring corporations. Opening the debate might be worth the effort, even just as a reminder that space is province of all mankind.