A European Approach to Space Security

Author data: 
Xavier Pasco
Publication Date: 
January 2009

American Academy of Arts and Sciences Occasional Paper

Re-evaluating Space Security
The Reconsidering the Rules for Space Project
Document Type: 
Articles and Op-Eds

This paper is based on the original CISSM Working Paper A European Approach to Space Security

Since the end of the Cold War and U.S.-Soviet military competition, the space sector has experienced a new dynamic brought about by two major changes. First, the “space club” countries, especially the United States, have come to see space activity as a powerful tool that can provide political, economic, and military benefits in the new geopolitical environment. The interest raised by this evolution is the second major change; it has led smaller and emerging countries to invest in space applications for a wide range of economic, military, and political reasons.

Although attention is currently focused on the rapidly expanding U.S. military space program, on recent Chinese accomplishments in manned spaceflight (as well as on parallel anti-satellites experiments), and on the growing interest in space among developing countries, the European space program may be one of the most significant efforts to construct a space policy that is suited to the post�"Cold War era. While still modest in size, the European space program is striving to expand its mandate in ways that will both benefit from and adhere to the particular rules of an unprecedented multinational political construction process. Europe has been moving beyond the scientific experiments that paved the way for its early space programs and is now engaging in more strategic and security-oriented space applications, which may be a sign of a nascent European feeling for a collective welfare and security policy.