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 specialised suppliers.
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.