Lockheed Martin UK Wants Sustainability In Space

Lockheed Martin UK Wants  Sustainability in Space

Lockheed Martin UK added its expertise to a prestigious panel discussion about sustainability in space – and what that means for security.

May 09, 2024


Nik Smith, director of Lockheed Martin Space UK, joined a group of international experts at Space-Comm Expo held at Farnborough International to talk about harmonising space security and the interplay of defence.


Responsible Behaviour

For Smith, responsible behaviour in space means “reeducating the next generation” about their responsibility and ensuring that “the commercial sector set the standard.”

“The public resonate with the potential impact of space debris. “They see much of the activity in space confined to astronauts and rubbish in space,” he said.


It’s important that we educate people about the balance between the potential impact of operating in space and the need to ensure that we are protecting our interests in space; we cannot forego security in pursuit of sustainability.
Nik Smith
Director of Lockheed Martin Space UK
Smith recognised that one aspect of protecting our interest in space is to protect the space environment itself. “We absolutely need to think about what we’re putting in space and the most responsible way to dispose of those items at their end of life,” he said.



He added: “Our dependance on space has also made it a target for malicious actors and adversaries, so we must protect it. To that end, successful security in space will only be achieved through global collaboration. Amongst the western nations, the U.S. is leading the way, but it is important for allies involved in space to work together, both to provide security in the domain but also to ensure sustainability through good practice and standards.”

“Sustainability of the space environment is vital for everyone who operates in the domain.One trend we are seeing is the demand from investors for companies to demonstrate a commitment to space sustainability,” he continued.

Smith said that there are still many challenges, including a collective understanding of  “what sustainability in space actually is and how it is best achieved.”


LM UK Wants  Sustainability in Space


Sustainable Practices

The final question discussed by the panel was around sustainable practices, particularly in the light of the fact that it is virtually impossible to create a zero-carbon space rocket.

“With the current rocket technology and fuel types, we cannot have ‘Net Zero Space” said Smith. “But we have to work continually to mitigate the impact we have.”

He believes that we can trust in the next generation of space entrepreneurs to come up with solutions.

Lockheed Martin is working with so many young people who are “absolutely invested in sustainability.”

“We just need to make sure we keep encouraging them and they will come up with the technological solutions,” he said.


The Solution

Smith put forward a number of options for the way forward, including the creation of a circular space economy.

“We could significantly reduce the amount of material we send into space and instead build in space using resources that are already in space; we would still get all of the benefits from space but minimise the impact,” he said.

“We have to recognise that what we are doing does have an impact, but we also need to tell the story that this is crucial to everything we do and how we live our lives, including the battle against the climate crisis. We cannot get to net zero without space!”