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The Geopolitics of Space


IAI, in collaboration with Intesa Sanpaolo, organised a series of three workshops titled “The Geo-Finance of Space” with the goal of investigating how the space race is impacting geopolitics, the world economy and the international legal regime. In a multipolar world, the international dynamics of “great power competition” on Earth has far-reaching reverberations in outer space. As space has become an integral part of the civil and military infrastructure, the need to protect the space domain and the assets within it has come to the fore. There has also been a marked trend towards commercialisation of the space realm. Companies have ventured into a domain previously only accessible to powerful states. This has contributed to making outer space increasingly competitive and congested. A series of technological innovations coupled with the emergence of “New Space” have enabled space companies to explore new markets and business models. Furthermore, the development of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the growth of non-terrestrial networks – notably, in Low-Earth Orbit – is expected to drive the growth in demand for space-based data in the years to come. To frame the legal regime for the management of space beyond the aerial zone, several treaties, pacts, secondary legislation, and soft laws have been developed. Despite those efforts, important grey areas of space regulation exist. In the next future, global actors are likely to increasingly compete over key aspects of space regulation, such as utilisation and appropriation of resources in space and the codification of rules of the road and responsible behaviour in orbit.

Publication produced in the framework of the IAI-Intesa Sanpaolo Partnership.

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