1. The increasing use of satellites and rocket launches has led to a growing risk of falling space debris, which poses a threat to civilians and property.
2. Local emergency management plans often do not include falling space hazards, despite the significant risks involved.
3. Mitigation efforts at the global level are necessary to address this hazard, but local governments should also prepare for the possibility of falling space debris impacting their jurisdictions.
The article "Emergency management and the final frontier: Preparing local communities for falling space debris" provides an empirical analysis of local emergency management guidelines for risks associated with human-made space hazards, natural space hazards, and unknown space hazards. The study utilizes a multicase approach with a document analysis of 391 emergency management documents provided by 512 local jurisdictions across the states of California, Florida, Texas, and Virginia.
The article highlights the increasing probability of civilian casualties from rocket launch anomalies or falling space debris already in orbit due to global dependence on satellite technologies, expanding space exploration, and commercial space travel. The study identifies high-risk counties in close proximity to rocket launch sites using descriptive statistics and QGIS vector spatial analysis. A logit regression model informs us about the relationship between a county containing a rocket launch site or being in close proximity to a launch site and their likelihood of including falling space hazards in their emergency management documents.
The article presents several examples of rocket launch failures resulting in casualties or property damage. It also discusses the lack of binding treaties addressing the risk of rocket body re-entries since the 1972 Liability Convention. The article notes that until further mitigation efforts are implemented on a global scale, public safety sectors at the local government level must reckon with this hazard.
However, there are some potential biases in this article. Firstly, it focuses primarily on US-based data and does not consider other countries' perspectives on this issue. Secondly, it does not explore counterarguments against its claims or present both sides equally. For example, it does not discuss any potential benefits that may come from expanding space exploration or commercial space travel.
Additionally, while the article notes that federal agencies are involved in managing and mitigating orbital debris, it does not provide evidence for how effective these efforts have been so far. It also does not address whether current regulations are sufficient to limit debris accumulation or if more stringent measures need to be put in place.
Overall, while this article provides valuable insights into preparing local communities for falling space debris risks associated with human-made space hazards, natural space hazards, and unknown space hazards; it could benefit from exploring counterarguments against its claims and presenting both sides equally. Additionally, more evidence is needed to support claims about federal agencies' effectiveness in managing orbital debris and whether current regulations are sufficient to limit debris accumulation.