The European space sector has to manage obsolescence risks for long-established materials and processes, chiefly due to the REACH authorisation requirement. REACHLaw has being supporting the European Space Agency, Eurospace and Europe’s major space companies since 2011 in the SVHC monitoring and analyses, industry surveys, advocacy, legal assessments, authorisation dossiers and definition of IT-based obsolescence management tools.
CASE 1: Legal assessments
Hydrazine Space Task Force
European space sector
Industry survey; technico-legal exemption study; preparation of Industry Position Paper
Hydrazine (anhydrous), a strategic component for satellite and launcher programmes, has been included in the REACH candidate list for authorisation in June 2011. An exemption from authorisation under REACH Article 56(4)(d) “use as fuels in closed systems” could apply, but actual use conditions in the European space industry and prerequisites of the exemption clause need to be analysed to confirm it. The interpretation should be clarified with REACH authorities.
REACHLaw – in collaboration with ASD-Eurospace – has conducted a space industry survey to collect relevant use information. Based on the data received, REACHLaw has analysed and confirmed the applicability of REACH Article 56(4)(d) and other REACH exemption clauses. The conclusions have been included in a ASD-Eurospace Position Paper drafted by REACHLaw and endorsed by all participants of the Hydrazine Space Task Force. The Position Paper has been presented to the European Commission to obtain its legal clarification.
Preparation of contribution to public consultation
The European Commission launched a public consultation on streamlining and simplification of REACH authorisation for uses of Annex XIV substances in low volumes and in legacy spare parts. A joint sector-level contribution should be prepared to highlight space-specific demands.
REACHLaw prepared the sector-level contribution comprising technical, legal and industry arguments, taking into account the comments of space agencies, companies and ASD-Eurospace as the industry association. The Commission is planning to introduce more sector-friendly authorisation rules for these uses.
Creation and management of sector-level industry task forces; development of joint dossiers for REACH purposes; trustee for confidential business information; co-ordination and communication with third parties.
Critical substances for space applications are being included in the REACH candidate list (e.g. hydrazine) and authorisation list (e.g. chromium trioxide). Major European space companies, the European Space Agency and national space agencies want to work together to ensure continued use as long as necessary while fully complying with the REACH authorisation requirements.
REACHLaw develops the project plan and task force as well as confidentiality agreements for the approval of the industrial and space agency participants. Within the frame of the task force the joint documents supporting the applicable authorisation approach are elaborated (e.g. exemption justification, authorisation dossier), co-ordinated with third parties and presented to the REACH competent authorities (e.g. ECHA, European Commission). REACHLaw project manager ensures protection of confidential business information.
CASE 4: Authorisation Application - Chromium trioxide for European space sector
Chromate Space Task Force
European space sector
Industry survey; task force services; Analysis of Alternatives; Socio-Economic Analysis
Chromium trioxide, a substance commonly used as part of formulations for surface treatment of aluminium alloy parts used in launchers and space vehicles, has been included in the REACH authorisation list with a sunset date in September 2017. A space-specific joint Analysis of Alternatives and Socio-Economic Analysis for authorisation shall be prepared to ensure continued use after the sunset date as long as required.
REACHLaw – in collaboration with ASD-Eurospace – has conducted a survey of task force members to collect relevant information on the use, alternatives and socio-economic impacts of non-use. Based on the data received, REACHLaw prepares a joint AoA and SEA. A high-level summary is submitted as a comment to ECHA to support a supplier-driven authorisation application for aerospace uses including the use in question. If required, a space-specific authorisation application using the joint AoA and SEA and including a CSR may be submitted by the formulator in the future to cover the use in the space sector.