Major Policy Issues in Evolving Global Space Operations

James Vedda, The Aerospace Corporation
Peter Hays, George Washington University

This new paper takes a focused look at the current state of the space industry and details a vast range of imminent challenges and opportunities. In particular, the authors examine how future endeavors in space will be shaped by the proliferation of new space entrants and the growing clout of the commercial sector. More importantly, the authors lay bare a growing realization that space is no longer the exclusive domain of superpowers or even major governments—nor is it a sanctuary shielded from terrestrial warfighting concerns.

The report is indeed timely, drawing on insights from a survey of more than 30 thought leaders from domestic and international governmental agencies, universities, research organizations, and commercial ventures. The report offers concrete recommendations in areas where strong consensus was evident among the participants. These include areas such as:

  • following best practices for sustainability
  • clarifying roles and responsibilities
  • embracing new technologies
  • reducing barriers to international collaboration understanding the value of existing treaties
  • launching government payloads on domestic launch vehicles

This report will prove a valuable resource for anyone with a stake in the evolving space enterprise. Individual sections examine topics such as space tracking, launch regulations, the proliferation of small satellites, orbital debris, liability, coordination in a congested environment, behavioral expectations, proximity operations, counterspace activity, deterrence, and the concerns of foreign entities. By including direct quotes from preeminent figures in the space industry, this report provides a concise snapshot of expert opinion and contemporary thinking with regard to rapid changes in the industry.