Exploring Insights from Emerging Space Agencies

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  • To watch the briefing and webinar on October 21, 2020 visit: https://swfound.org/
  • “The emergence of the “new space” sector has made it possible for smaller and developing nations to implement space programs without the astronomical budgets of the past
  • “Find gaps in the global space industry that your nation can excel in and specialize to fill them”
Earth from space at night
Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Since the turn of the century, technological innovation and reduced launch costs have lowered many conventional barriers of entry to space, giving way to a more diversified space-faring community. From commercial companies and civil space organizations to military space programs and partnerships between all three, more nations are benefiting from the use of outer space than ever before. In the past six years alone, sixteen nations established national civil space agencies for the first time. While there are benefits to establishing a new space agency in this more expansive new space age, developing space nations face new and unique challenges associated with a more congested, competitive, and contested space environment.

With the goal of providing practical knowledge for emerging space nations to develop successful strategies, this research explored the best practices and lessons learned in the development of newly formed space agencies established between 2014 and 2019. The research featured two core sections: a general assessment of comprehensive literature reviews that profiled defining characteristics and rationales for establishing these space agencies, and a case study section that entailed a deeper dive into two nations selected from the list, Luxembourg and the United Arab Emirates. From the general assessment, the research found that the driving rationale for the creation of space agencies during this time was economic, attesting to the increasing importance of commercial space activities for emerging space nations. Using interviews with representatives from the Luxembourg Space Agency and the UAE Space Agency, the case studies further explored and analyzed the formation, rationales, roles, frameworks, and key projects of these agencies. Based on the general assessments and case study nations, this paper concluded in providing recommendations for emerging space nations looking to establish their own space agencies and for established space nations seeking to engage with emerging space nations.

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