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Panel 6. Space Policy Challenges for International Relations*

Chair: Paolo Foradori (University of Trento)
Discussant: Jean-Pierre Darnis (Istituto Affari Internazionali)

Date: Friday 14.00 - 15.45
Room: Aula Ardigò

*Panel organized by the School of International Studies of the University of Trento in the context of the program 'Science, Technology and International Relations' (STERI)


Space has always represented a strategic sector. During the Cold War, the space race was a synonym of political and strategic competition. The question of the strategic dimension of space returned center stage when the USA announced the establishment of a “space force” within its defence system, corresponding today to a perception of a potential threat from China and or Russia.

In Europe we have mainly observed a scientific and commercial approach, developed first by the European Space Agency (ESA) and then boosted by the European Commission through the Galileo (positioning) and Copernicus (earth observation) flagship programs. On a national basis, we can observe how technical developments are linked to different kinds of policies, from the development of launching capabilities to the search for autonomy. Public funding appears essential for space developments in this technologically advanced sector, which is at the same time a field of international cooperation (for example through the International Space Station) and competition.
All these features indicate that space policy does, in fact, represent a multi-layer challenge for international relations. It involves both state and non-state actors, and offers an interesting field in which to analyze the influence of the technological factor within policies.
This panel will gather policy and technical analysts to better characterize the different issues of international relations and space. It will also contribute to the debate about the growing political dimension of technology.


Confirmed papers

1. Strategic stakes of New Space
Paul Wohrer (Fondation pour la recherche stratégique)

2. International Relations at the Italian Space Agency
Sveva Iacovoni 
(Italian Space Agency)

3. Massimo Claudio Comparini (e-GEOS)