The View From Here

International Partnerships: Mission Critical and a Two-way Street

Written by: developer

Space is a global commons, and the exploration, development and utilization of space increasingly requires global perspective and engagement.

Over the past decade, the shift to a more global role has become crucial for the Space Foundation as we continue to pursue our mission, “To advance space-related endeavors, to Inspire, Enable and Propel Humanity.” Humanity, after all, is all of us on the planet. While the U.S., where we are based, continues to play a tremendous leadership role, the nations of the world are increasingly more active, with increasing dependence upon international partnerships to make space programs happen.

Our space family is huge, and far-flung. The strategic view of the Space Foundation must be equally huge and far reaching.

I’m often confounded by the degree to which many people view the Space Foundation strictly through the lens of our annual Space Symposium. While we’re extraordinarily proud of that event, and how we have grown and evolved it over the years, our organization is so much more than that. We are a leader in space-based STEM education; we play an enormous role in advising elected and appointed officials on space policy, both in the U.S. and abroad; we are a key partner with the U.S. government on international space engagements; we provide the data on the industry upon which nearly everyone depends; we are a leader in space awareness activities; and we convene other industry events, ranging from special forums on particular topics, to open events like our Space Technology & Investment Forum, to classified security and defense meetings like our Faga Forum on Space Intelligence. We are active, engaged champions of space on a daily, year-round basis.

That includes the ongoing international engagement that has allowed us to transform ourselves, and help transform our industry, over the past 15 years.

Looking back through that singular lens of the Space Symposium, it is this active role in non-U.S. space activities that has enabled us to transform our annual spring meeting from a U.S.-centric conference to the largest international gathering of the global space community (43 nations represented in 2016, and more than 12,000 participants).

Besides being mission critical, this internationalism is a two-way street. We can’t just expect everyone to come to us; we have to be just as willing to go to them, and to work hand in hand, wherever the destination, and whatever the time zone.

Accordingly, within a few days of the conclusion of our recent 32nd Space Symposium, I found myself traveling to Seoul, and Daejon, as part of a U.S. Delegation to the Second Official Bilateral Discussions with South Korea. While there, I met U.S. Ambassador Mark W. Lippert, and participated in the signing of the official Civil Space Bilateral Agreement between the U.S. and Korea. I delivered a guest lecture to students and faculty of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), in Daejeon.

After the lecture, I was interviewed by Mik Fanguy (pictured) for the official KAIST podcast, “Around the Carillon.” I participated side-by-side with Kenneth Hodgkins, Director of the Office of Oceans, Environment and Science within the U.S. State Department, in a senior executive level Space Policy Forum hosted by the Korea Aerospace Research Institute at its headquarters in Daejon. Along the way, I helped our U.S. Embassy team in Seoul to host a group of high school students to a STEM education event at the American Center in Seoul, which was linked to our Northrop Grumman Science Center and Science On a Sphere® in Colorado Springs.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we hosted the visit of a very senior delegation of space policy leaders from Japan, who visited our headquarters and toured the Space Foundation Discovery Center as part of an exchange of views on Japan’s evolving space policy. Typically, we host three or four of these types of delegations throughout the year – in addition to the many official delegations that join us at the Space Symposium.

As this issue of Space Watch hits the wires, I’ll be wrapping up our participation in the European Space Solutions conference (pictured), in The Hague. From there I travel to Berlin for the ILA Berlin Air Show, where, along with NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, and DLR Executive Board Chair Pascal Ehrenfreund, I will help open the Space Pavilion at ILA. I’ll speak to German parliamentarians on the future of space, as well as speaking to ILA attendees on a panel with ESA Director General Jan Wörner, CNES President Jean-Yves LeGall and others.

Meanwhile, Space Foundation Senior Vice President Steve Eisenhart will be participating in the Third Prague Security Studies Institute Conference “Advancing the Trilateral Europe-U.S.-Japan Space Security Partnership.” Steve and I will join forces in Vienna, where the Space Foundation serves as private sector advisor to the U.S. State Department, and member of the U.S. delegation, at the annual meeting of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

That’s just the Spring schedule. Other international engagements on the horizon:

  • In July, we engage in a variety of partnership activities in and around London as part of our role at the Farnborough International Airshow. These include a partnership with the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), with whom we will field a day long forum on Access to Space and its implications for international security and defense space activities. The event will be at RUSI headquarters in Whitehall, on Wednesday, July 13. You can register at the RUSI web site,
  • In September, we will have a team in Guadalajara, Mexico, to participate in the 64th International Astronautical Congress. In addition to our partnership with the host organization, the Mexican Space Agency, we partner with IAF year round, and Steve serves on the board of the Space Generation Advisory Council — with whom we team for certain IAC activities. Also in September, we will participate in World Satellite Business Week in Paris.
  • Looking ahead to November, the Space Foundation is again partnered with the U.S. State Department in coordinating U.S. participation in the 23rd meeting of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agencies Forum (APRSAF), in Manila. This gathering attracts leaders from space agencies, universities, and companies from nearly 30 nations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

All of these engagements advance our mission. Some lead to new commercial partnerships, others lead to the signing of new official agreements between nations. Some build stronger trans-Atlantic partnerships, some pave the way for the national and industrial pivot toward the Pacific. Some result in new STEM education partnerships, while others lead to policy progress among established friends and allies. Often, we are paving the way for greater non-U.S. participation in all Space Foundation programs — including international leadership on our board of directors, international corporate members, and ever-increasing non-U.S. participation in our annual Space Symposium.

The View From Here is that the exploration, development and utilization of space demands global perspective and engagement, and that the mission of the Space Foundation “To advance space-related endeavors to Inspire, Enable and Propel Humanity” is a humanistic one, which knows no borders. Our journey beyond continues, and we invite everyone to join us.

This article is part of Space Watch: June 2016 (Volume: 15, Issue: 6).