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Space Policy

This project focuses on key trends, developments, and challenges related to outer space activities with the aim to examine the interplay between space policy and international relations.

The LSE IDEAS Space Policy project is home to Space Policy: An International Journal and hosts public lectures and events at LSE.

From the growing militarisation and commercialisation of space activities to new spacefaring nations and pressing challenges such as space debris, the intersection between space policy and international relations has become more important than ever. Examining the domestic and external influences that shape space policy and strategies and their implications for the study and conduct of international relations from a global perspective can help us to understand better the dynamic interaction between space technology and global order as well as enhance space policy decision making. To this end, LSE IDEAS Space Policy seeks to bring together academics and practitioners to share insights into the evolving relationship between space policy and international politics with the aim to inform space policy decision making and the public.

Research Clusters

  • Space Statecraft: The High Frontier in International Relations
  • The Global Governance of Space Activities: Developments, Challenges, and Global Strategies 
  • Space Policy and the Global South 
  • Space Technology and Change in Global Politics

Publications

Cyberattacks on Satellites: An Underestimated Political Threat
05 May, 2022

While ransomware is mainly distributed via terrestrial networks, the threat of cyberattacks on satellite systems has become increasingly real. In this piece, Professor Walter Peeters of the International Space University explores the hypothetical aftermath of a complete shutdown of the global satellite network system, and argues for the possibility of such a shutdown to be taken more seriously as a political threat.

Australia's Space Journey: Never lost, now charting a new course
30 May, 2022

In this commentary on Australia's space programme, Dr Brett Biddington argues that happenstance and incrementalism are the defining factors of its journey, and that external pressures, more than internal vision and understanding, have forced a succession of Australian Governments to pay increasing public attention to space matters.

Space Traffic Management: A Brief History
29 June, 2022

Dr Quentin Verspieren explores how the idea of regulating space traffic has been present and formalised since the early beginnings of space law, starting in the 1930s, and becoming a widely debated topic in the following years. Increasing concerns about space traffic should be explained by the actual growth of space traffic as well as the emergence of the very closely related issue of space debris mitigation.

Understanding Growth in the Global Space Situational Awareness Sector 
03 September, 2022

Global trends in partnerships and data exchanges will affect global SSA capabilities overall, and ultimately, the sustainability of the space environment for all users. Dr Mariel Borowitz presents a model for better understanding of the global SSA sector.

The Growth of Non-governmental Space Sector in China [coming soon]

Climate change policy as a guide for orbital debris policy [coming soon]

Events

Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Future of Space PolicyFrom the commercialisation and militarisation of space activities to calls for space colonisation, space advocates have been influential in pushing for the expansion of human activities in outer space. The lecture examines these space activities from a critical perspective, highlighting that one of the most important consequences of space activities is the increasing likelihood of nuclear war. It also asks whether space expansionism poses multiple threats to humanity at a time when our focus should be on how we can utilise space assets for solving Earth problems.

Meet the Team

Dr Dimitrios Stroikos is Head of the LSE IDEAS Space Policy Project

Saniya Kulkarni is Project Coordinator for LSE IDEAS Space Policy.