Space activities are becoming more globalized. Today, more than sixty countries operate one or more satellite in space, and virtually all countries depend on space for some combination of national security, social, and economic benefits. There are an increasing number of space actors as a result. Furthermore, countries with existing space programs are also expanding their space activities into new sectors. At the same time, the world is seeing a boom in private sector activity in space, driven by the commercialization of technology and increasing availability of capital.
As these new government and private sector actors enter into the space domain, and existing actors push into new areas, they face both challenges and opportunities. The growing use of space applications is helping address a greater number of challenges on Earth, while expanding commercial activity is leading to increased innovation and the potential development of new capabilities and lower costs. At the same time, new private sector actors face a steep learning curve for understanding regulatory requirements and safe space operations, and countries face challenges in putting in place national law and policy.
In conjunction with its project to develop a Handbook for new Actors in Space, SWF held a luncheon panel discussion on May 10, 2016, in Washington, DC, to examine the challenges and opportunities facing new actors in space. Panelists provided a range of governmental, international, and private sector perspectives on their experiences, the obstacles they face and efforts to address these challenges.
More information, speaker bios, and presentations can be found on the event page on the SWF website.