3 August 2011. Issue 50 of the "ESPI Perspectives" series examines the necessity for an environmentally sustainable global space policy framework and investigates the conditions and future steps required for its implementation..   


Through the continuous increase of space activities, space is becoming a challenging object of responsibility. This description of space as environment can be operationalised by the level model of environmental affairs, which implies environmental policy options of low, middle, and large depth. Sustainable space activities should operate not only on symptom near, that is low, level, but also on middle and deep levels, such as by an environmentally sound technology and a thoroughly planned practice of launchings. All space activities should be developed and implemented in peaceful interaction that implies particular guardedness concerning military uses. Sustainable space policy, eventually, looks at the sake of generations to come not only on Earth, but also outside the Earth, linked with the idea of respecting different bio-chemical environments in general. It is true, current challenges have to be met, particularly not to fall back into the era of a militarily reduced way of thinking; but starting already with the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, a long and sustainable practice of cooperation between the main actors of space policy developed. This cooperative practise has reached, up to now, its peak with the successful operation of the International Space Station (ISS). Space policy, so far, can be identified as a forerunner and a new symbol of sustainability.

Volker von Prittwitz, author of “ESPI Perspectives 50”

Volker von Prittwitz studied History, Sociology, and Political Science in Regensburg and Berlin. From 1980 to 1990 he took part in international research efforts on environmental policy in the Science Centre Berlin. From 1991 he held contemporary chairs for Political Science in the Universities of Darmstadt, Hamburg, Erlangen and Erfurt, before he became associated professor for Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2004. His primary fields of interest are comparative politics, environmental and sustainability policies, communicating democracy and the open society. Among his publications are the books: Umweltaußenpolitik (1984: theoretical and empirical aspects of environmental diplomacy), Das Katastrophenparadox. Elemente einer Theorie der Umweltpolitik (1990: theoretical foundations of environmental policy), Politikanalyse (1994: how to analyse politics?), Verhandeln und Argumentieren (Ed. 1996: bargaining and arguing), Vergleichende Politikanalyse (2007: comparative politics). Since 2008 he has given lectures in Finland, Dhaka (Bangladesh) and Seoul (S. Korea). In March 2011 he completed a brief stay as Visiting Researcher at ESPI.

More info:


- ESPI Perspectives 50: “Space as Environment: On the Way to Sustainable Space Policy?”





 Photo credit: ESPI

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