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A Global Space Policy that would revive Space Exploration

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:54 authored by Tanay Sharma, Chris ChatwinChris Chatwin, Rupert YoungRupert Young, Phil BirchPhil Birch
Almost every nation today relies on space-based technology for communications, weather forecasting, satellite navigation and resource management, either through ndigenous programs or through programs run by its allies. As such, it is safe to say that every country is a space-faring nation. However,when it comes to space science and technology, attention must be directed towards countries that possess the ability to launch payloads. Russia, Japan, China, ESA, India, Israel, Iran and the United States form an exclusive club of nations that not only possess launch capability but also dominate research and development in space sciences. With the exception of the ESA, whose space policy is dictated by its member states and primarily serves the EU, all other countries have national space programs governed by a dedicated space policy. However, all states including the EU have the following objectives in common: 1. Development and exploitation of space applications to serve the state’s public policy objectives, 2. Ensuring that the state’s national security and defense needs are met with regards to space, 3. Securing unrestricted access to critical technologies allowing states to pursue independent applications, and 4. To further international collaboration between likeminded nations through improved coordination of international activities and by setting in place a better mechanism for sharing of resources. Whilst the above nations agree in principal to the UN Outer Space Treaty, and they all consider space as a vital resource for ensuring national security. As such, any application or development of critical technologies is used primarily to bolster a state’s national defense capability. Current national space programs run by these countries cover various commercial, civilian and military aspects. This cross discipline research and development has led to an extremely integrated industrial base, where drawing a line between civilian and military programs is often impossible. This hazy line has often hindered technology transfer even in commercial applications as companies grapple with stringent export control regulations. With respect to the United States, whilst ITAR has ensured that critical technology is not transferred without the states consent, many in Washington agree that the regulation fails to meet its objectives and must be overhauled. It has also hindered US companies wanting to sell their products outside the United States, prompting other nations to develop indigenous technologies and market them as ITARfree. Although it is safe to assume that research and development with regards to space will be dominated by the United States and its partners in Europe for the foreseeable future, the recent recession has caused financial strains on both sides of the Atlantic causing drastic changes with regards to space budgets and the future outlook for both NASA and ESA. This paper briefly discusses why emerging nations might consider investing in a national space program, and factors that would determine its success. It also focuses on how the establishment of a global space program could prove to be an innovative and cost-effective way of ensuring a robust space industry that serves the social and political objectives of member nations whilst promoting a global technological base that fosters innovation, growth and sustainable development.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version

Page range


Presentation Type

  • paper

Event name

Recent Advances in Space Technologies (RAST) 2011

Event location

Istanbul, Turkey

Event type


Event date

9-11th June, 2011

Department affiliated with

  • Engineering and Design Publications


Print ISBN: 9781424496174 INSPEC Accession Number: 12138107 Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/RAST.2011.5966963

Full text available

  • Yes

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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