The Senate Passes the Orbital Sustainability Act

December 22, 2022

Lummis-led legislation to secure future space exploration & protect satellites from dangerous space junk passes the Senate

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Orbital Sustainability (ORBITS) Act introduced by U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Roger Wicker (R-MS) passed the Senate. The bipartisan ORBITS Act would create a first-of-its-kind demonstration program to reduce the amount of space junk in orbit. Space junk, or orbital debris, poses a threat to satellites that people in Wyoming rely on for basic communication.

“Space junk is not only dangerous to humans exploring space, but also a major risk to satellites that people in Wyoming and around the country rely on for basic communication. This legislation passing the Senate is an important first step toward removing debris from our orbit,” said Senator Lummis.

There are approximately 8,000 metric tons of debris currently in orbit, including at least 900,000 individual pieces of debris that are potentially lethal to satellites. These satellites are necessary for things we use every day in Wyoming, from communication to transportation, safety and weather monitoring. Because of the magnitude of the current debris, simply preventing more space junk in the future is not enough.

To read the full text of the ORBITS Act, click here.