Developing a standardised methodology for space-specific Life Cycle Assessment

Furthermore, industry has begun work in the area, with Airbus DS, CNES and Arianespace all performing environmental impact studies. In order to aid communication in the area, and to be able to exchange and understand results, it is important to establish a standardised LCA methodology for the space sector, from an early stage. The European Space Agency is performing this role, developing a handbook titled ‘Space System Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) Guidelines’. This internal handbook will provide the methodological framework for users to perform LCAs in the space sector, at system or component/equipment level, as well as guidelines on how to communicate on the results. Such a methodology will harmonise and encourage future LCA studies from both ESA and industry, and provide a necessary step towards the longer term goal of eco-design, where a product is designed in such a way as to reduce the environmental impacts.