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Press release from the SMI 28 June 2023

Sustainable Markets Initiative Launches Astra Carta

Building Momentum for Space Sustainability in the Private Sector

London, England: Today the Sustainable Markets Initiative  launched the Astra Carta, a framework, and an ambition for the private sector to embrace the next frontier of sustainability in space.  The Astra Carta builds on the foundation of the Terra Carta  to shape a future of responsible and sustainable space exploration, development, and cooperation.  It aims to serve as a roadmap for the global private sector to align their space-related activities with sustainability goals, approaches, and standards in partnership with governments, international organisations and other stakeholders. 

The launch of the Astra Carta framework brings to reality a vision for space sustainability outlined by His Majesty King Charles III, in his previous role as Prince of Wales, at the Space Sustainability Summit  in 2022. The Sustainable Markets Initiative led the development of the Astra Carta and today at a Space Sustainability reception at Buckingham Palace, The King unveiled the Astra Carta seal, designed by Sir Jony Ive and is a visual representation of the ambitions of the Astra Carta. 

“Inspired by His Majesty’s vision, the Astra Carta is a collective call to action that seeks to unite the public and private sectors and other stakeholders in a shared commitment to the responsible and sustainable use of outer space.  As we embark on this journey we remember to preserve and protect our origins on Earth. Inspired by the Terra Carta, which continues to chart a path towards a more sustainable future for Nature, People and Planet, this transformative framework extends those principles to the realms beyond our world. The Astra Carta harnesses the power of collective will, curiosity, scientific discovery, sustainability, and ethical stewardship to guide us in this new frontier of possibilities.” said Jennifer Jordan Saifi, Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Markets Initiative. “This means placing sustainability at the centre of all that we do across the space value chain.”  

The Astra Carta’s framework - similar to the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Terra Carta  - aims to convene the private sector in creating an ambition and momentum in advancing and accelerating sustainable technology and business models. It also recognises the unique role that space can play in creating sustainable Earth and the need for space-related industries to consider environmental and sustainability impacts both on and beyond our planet. Its ambition encourages a focus on placing sustainability at the core of space activity. 

A zero draft of the Astra Carta was released for global consultation. It was created with input and inspiration from space and industry experts, of which Colonel Chris Hadfield, former Canadian astronaut and commander of the International Space Station consulted on the creation of the Astra Carta framework. 

“The Astra Carta creates an opportunity to align private sector and other stakeholders with an ambition to place sustainability at the heart of the space industry. Whether its executing activity in the most sustainable way or leveraging all that space has to offer for sustainability here on Earth, the Sustainable Markets Initiative’s Astra Carta is a call to action and convenes those best placed to contribute,” said Hadfield.

The Astra Carta framework is visually articulated through the Astra Carta seal, which was designed by Sir Jony Ive and his collective team at LoveFrom. The Astra Carta seal design complements the Sustainable Market Initiative’s Terra Carta seal  which Sir Jony Ive and team designed in 2021.

“We were fascinated by the celestial rhythms that were illuminated during this design process, and how they are profoundly connected to the patterns of life on Earth,” said Sir Jony Ive. “This feels a crucial time to do more to protect the natural universe in the broadest sense, and we are deeply honoured to have been able to contribute to this important and pioneering project.”

The Astra Carta’s motto – to care for the infinite wonders of the universe – defines the edge of the seal. The seal complements the same typography and has the St Edward’s Crown as does the Terra Carta seal . The structure is similarly defined by sacred geometry, overlaid with astronomical motion. The Earth is at the centre, showing the Sun and annular eclipse of the Moon, with the transit of Mercury, dance of Venus and Mars.  Symbolic constellations from the night sky in both the northern and southern hemispheres include Cepheus, Orion, Monoceros, Centaurus, Crux, Leo, and Charles’ Wain within Ursa Major, as well as the North Star. Deep space and the distant universe are represented by glimmering space dust and infinite blackness. 

LoveFrom’s references included astronomical charts, astrophotography, and constellation maps. Every element is designed to reinforce the aspiration and authority of the Astra Carta, as well as the sense of awe at the universe it seeks to protect.

View the full press release PDF here