OECD Policy Paper: How the War in Ukraine is affecting Space Activities [Feb/2023]
In November 2022, the OECD published the paper “A New
Landscape for Space Applications – Illustration from Russia’s war of aggression
against Ukraine”. The paper uses illustrations from the war in Ukraine to
highlight growing trends and developments in the space sector, placing them in the
broader context of digitalisation and government space investments.
In times of continuous increase of public and private
investments in space, the sector has taken a new role in crisis management, notably
demonstrated by the war in Ukraine. Improved accessibility of satellite data
supports coordination, communication, and resilience of government systems in Ukraine
while opening new applications based on space-based data.
However, the war has likewise exposed space systems
vulnerabilities to previous unknown threats. These include unpredicted
third-party use of data, vulnerability of space infrastructure, and fragility
of the space global supply chain which relies on a small number of highly
The paper sets out four key considerations for policymakers
to take note of for further actions:
- Addressing the space sector’s vulnerabilities – Due to its size, entry cost, and nature, space infrastructure is particularly vulnerable to economic and geopolitical shocks;
- Managing access to and use of data and signals – Enhanced access to and sharing of space-based data and signals is associated with social and economic benefits, but also encounter drawbacks such as private ownership of public-good data;
- Fostering further space sector commercialisation – The rise of commercial space actors brings the potential of evermore innovative and affordable services but continuous effort should be made to reduce barriers of entry;
- Ensuring long-term sustainability of space activities through continued international co-operation with OECD support – Ensuring long-term sustainability of space activities is crucial for a more resilient space infrastructure. For this, actions are needed on the national and international levels, notably on the pressing challenge of space debris.
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The policy paper can be accessed here.