28 April 2009. The concept of space power has attracted an increasing source of attention in recent years. However, Europe has been absent from the on-going debate and process leading to the development of space power theory. This “ESPI Perspectives” focusing on the concept of space power and Europe aims consequently to start to fill this conceptual gap.
Recent years have been marked by the changing geopolitics of the space context. In particular, there is an increasing internationalisation, globalisation and institutionalisation of space activities as more and more governments invest in space activities throughout the world. Major space-faring countries have also been developing national space policies and strategies to frame their domestic and international space activities. In parallel, space activities have, over the years been for pre-eminent countries increasingly tied to national power. Space power has thus become an indispensable element for a country with regional or global ambitions. In the unfolding new space order the importance of space power is thus growing. However, while there has been a great deal of rhetoric about the impact of science and technology on international affairs, there has been relatively little analytical work on the link between space and national power, as well as between space power and international affairs and particularly for Europe. Conceptually space power theory has nonetheless attracted an increasing source of attention in recent years. However, while Europe possesses the fundamental elements of space power it has been absent from the on-going debate and process leading to the development of space power theory. This needs to change as Europe should be able to influence the development of a cogent and comprehensive space power theory.
This issue of " ESPI Perspectives" (download here) authored by ESPI Research Fellow Nicolas Peter aims thus to provide a preliminary overview of a complex and wide-ranging subject, bringing together an important issue for Europe to consider in the next decades.
ESPI Research Fellow Nicolas Peter
“Space Power and Europe in the 21st Century” presents an overview of the concept of space power with a particular attention devoted to Europe in order to help to nurture contemporary conceptual discussions. It first describes the changing context of space activities, and covers the concept of national power as well as its links with the fundamental principles of space power; it then explains why it matters, and particularly for Europe. Finally, reflections on space power in Europe and its implications, as well as options to increase its overall space power are also presented.
This issue of "ESPI Perspectives" build on earlier work conducted by Nicolas Peter that was partly presented at last year’s IAC conference in Glasgow (download here).