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Space 2030

Tackling Society's Challenges

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This book explores the contribution space systems might make in dealing with looming societal challenges related to threats to the physical environment and the management of natural resources, growing mobility and its consequences, increasing security concerns, and the shift to the information society. It discusses the challenges for developing space applications. It assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks that currently govern space activities in the OECD area and beyond. Finally, it formulates an overall policy framework that OECD governments might use in drafting policies designed to ensure that the potential that space has to offer is actually realised.

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Framework Conditions: Legal, Regulatory and Public Awareness Aspects

The legal and regulatory framework plays a key role in shaping space activities because it determines the rule of the game under which space actors – private ones in particular – operate. Although a number of basic components of the legal framework are now in place (the international space law regime and some legislation at national level), some major gaps remain. Some space-faring countries still do not have space laws or have embryonic legislation that covers only some types of space activities. Moreover, the regulatory framework does not help to create a stable and predictable environment for business. Problems arise in particular regarding the allocation of spectrum and orbital positions, the liberalisation of space markets remains limited, export controls restrict the ability to exploit market opportunities, space debris continues to accumulate and several standardisation questions remain open. Another difficulty results from the lack of visibility of space activities in the eyes of the general public. The general perception tends to be distorted, as the media tend to focus on sensational successes and failures so that the general population has a poor understanding of the value of space-based services and is not fully supportive of space activities that could generate substantial socio-economic benefits. This state of affairs reduces the ability of decision makers to take appropriate action in a timely manner for the development of space systems. Moreover, few students are inclined to embrace spacerelated careers in the current morose context, and the critical pool of expertise that has taken decades to develop is at risk of being eroded.

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