Sustainable Space for a Sustainable Earth? Circular Economy Insights from the Space Sector

Paladini, Stefania and Saha, Krishnendu and Pierron, Xavier (2021) Sustainable Space for a Sustainable Earth? Circular Economy Insights from the Space Sector. Journal of Environmental Management, 289 (July). p. 112511. ISSN 0301-4797

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Abstract

The drive toward an efficient use of finite resources and the emphasis on sustainability that characterises CE (Circular Ec onomy) models is also shared by many space projects, as summarised decades ago with the catchphrase ‘Spaceship Earth’. Carrying out a comparison of the applications of circular economy models and the space industry's best practice, the article argues that the space sector represents a sort of ‘native environment’ for circular economy and shows how to apply more efficiently those same CE principles down to Earth. Adopting a case-study approach and using evidence from a close-loop system originally conceived for life in a space environment (ESA-ME LiSSA for water treatment), this study demonstrates how the space sector is not only fully ‘CE compliant’ but also provides a comprehensive framework to further extend the remit of the CE philosophy. If the world economy is indeed at the onset of a new industrial revolution (the so- called Industry 4. 0) , the space sector can offer insights on how to this revolution can be made both inclusive and sustainable.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2021.112511
Dates:
DateEvent
28 March 2021Accepted
25 April 2021Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: CE ESA-MELiSSA Closed-loop system Sustainability Spaceship Earth Industry 4.0 Space sector
Subjects: H400 Aerospace Engineering
L100 Economics
L900 Others in Social studies
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > Birmingham City Business School > Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics
Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > Birmingham City Business School > Centre for Applied Finance and Economics
Depositing User: Stefania Paladini
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2021 11:08
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2021 09:20
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/11551

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