Space policy is today a visible and recognized field with a continuously growing impact. With the growth of more innovative uses of outer space and the international proliferation of space technologies, leading to more than seventy countries owning satellites as of today, the complexity of space policy is growing accordingly. Space policy matters because it deals with an issue area that is critical for the functioning of modern society and, on the international level, vital to the maintenance of peace. Topics such as the status of outer space, space traffic management, and space security are only a few critical elements in a multifaceted spectrum that combined within space policy are crucially relevant to security, welfare, and modern society.
Space policy and space law are inextricably intertwined. Today, a space lawyer has to understand space policy, and vice versa, a space policy expert cannot do without a solid knowledge of space law. In particular, the nature of outer space as a global commons, governed by the non-appropriation principle, connects policy and legal aspects incredibly tightly. All political questions are based on legal considerations, and all legal questions have political implications. The reciprocal relations among space policy objectives and legal framework enable the comprehensive understanding of the theoretical and practical interactions and provide a more sustainable and consistent foundation for their implementation.
‘’Space policy consists of the objectives, means, and actions of governmental actors in their uses of outer space under given circumstances’’. This definition and the elaboration of the elements therein are provided in the forthcoming 2021 Research Agenda for Space Policy edited by Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Christina Giannopapa, and Ntorina Antoni (Edward Elgar Publishing). In this publication, expert international contributors set out a forward-looking research agenda for the 2020s, identifying fundamental problems and conflicts related to the topic and exploring policy, regulatory approaches, and diplomatic mechanisms to reach possible solutions.