The Global Network on Sustainability in Space (GNOSIS)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics


This is a Network+ proposal for the Futures programme of STFC. Its main aim is to help a willing STFC scientific community tackle some of the fundamental problems associated with the sustainable use of space. Its main aims are actually to inform and orientate the STFC community, by demonstrating their ability to impact on this 21st Century Challenge. There are currently far more cars on earth then we know of space debris but we do not consider the "car problem" originating out of the shear number of cars and thats because, in general, we know where they are. This is not the situation with space debris which is a problem only because we don't understand their positions & movement sufficiently well. The STFC community has all the skills needed to understand this material and its movement relative to the satellite population.

This Network+ proposal is thus a community building exercise and forming interactions with industry and government partners in order to tackle the debris problem. Most of the activities are designed to help these interactions occur and as there are already some linkage between STFC scientists and this area then a few significant problems will be tackled. In line with best practice the community will be consulted over the themes for discussion at workshops and sandpits and more detailed studies will be examined by an expert panel. All projects etc will need to provide full action list and reports outlining successes and failures and lessons learnt.

Planned Impact

Providing societal and economic impact through the application of expertise from the STFC-funded research community to the Space Situational Awareness/Space Traffic Management (SSA/STM) domain is the primary goal of the GNOSIS Network+.

We envisage GNOSIS generating:
1. Economic impact by aiding space companies to exploit expertise from STFC-funded science in the development and deployment of more effective SSA/STM capabilities;
2. Societal impact through public engagement activities that present the link between the scientific and economic use of space through SSA/STM; and
3. Societal and economic impact through providing students and young researchers with motivation to fill the SSA/STM roles that are opening up in the commercial space sector.


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Blake J (2021) DebrisWatch I: A survey of faint geosynchronous debris in Advances in Space Research

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Blake James (2019) Optical imaging of faint geosynchronous debris with the Isaac Newton Telescope in Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference

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Chote Paul (2019) Precision Optical Light Curves of LEO and GEO Objects in Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference

Description Round table discussion with Beis Minister
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review
Description Dstl collaboration 
Organisation Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Dstl have recognized the skills we have developed in GEO observation and data reduction through this project and have been keen to develop collaboration in this project and in future projects. Our expertise and analysis is clear and we have developed much software in the course of this project which is attractive to Dstl. In addition our ability to apply and win large telescope time has been paramount.
Collaborator Contribution On my invitation Dstl staff joined our collaboration to make best use of the INT observations we were obtaining. Their main contributions at this time were some aspects that impact the observations that we had less experience of (eg accurate earth shadow calculation). More recently we have begun discussions with Dstl orbital dynamics and modelling staff. Dstl have recently placed a 5-year fellowship at Warwick to fully exploit the collaboration. In addition Dstl are in the process of buying significant telescope time in Australia to repeat the original experiment at a different longitude.
Impact There are some but they are in AMOS currently, next years reporting will have journal references.
Start Year 2019
Description Northern Space 
Organisation Northern Space and Security Ltd (NORSS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We work with this organisation to bring seminars of interest to academics to help stimulate collaboration with industry
Collaborator Contribution 4 workshops in past year
Impact Workshops and sandpits for GNOSIS
Start Year 2019
Description PLATO Selection Outreach 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Press release over the selection of PLATO as ESA M3 mission. Picked up by many organisations. Here is one from the telegraph.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014