Space Policy: Understanding Space Activities, Motivations and Programs

Space Policy: Understanding Space Activities, Motivations and Programs

Arne Lahcen (European Space Agency (ESA), Italy) and Djordje Andrijasevic (Federal Ministry of Defence (BMLV), Austria)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7256-5.ch016

Abstract

This chapter explores the concept of space policy and sheds light on its importance in understanding the nature and evolution of space activities and programs. More specifically, this chapter seeks to offer an introduction on how space policy can be defined and understood, followed by an overview of the main current trajectories of space policies of both national actors as well as international and intergovernmental institutions. Finally, this chapter formulates some conclusions regarding the future potential avenues of space policy and describes how these scenarios could impact the future of human activities and behaviour in space.
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Dimensions Of Space Policy

Before this chapter focusses on the specific contents and historic developments of space policies around the world, it is crucial to characterise and define the generic nature of space policy. Explaining the lenses through which space policies should be understood is crucial in order to grasp the true meaning and rationale behind them.

Since the term ‘policy’ is widely used in contemporary society, it is important to look at its generic substance before elaborating on the specificities of space policies. Generally speaking, ‘policy’ can be defined as “a set of ideas or plans of what to do in particular situations which has been agreed upon officially by a group of people, a business organization, a government, or a political party1. Policies formulated by the executive or legislative branch of government – as is typically the case for space and other policies at political level – are therefore a very important basis for making decisions. In fact, policies serve multiple purposes at once, thanks to their different ‘dimensions’.

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