Three questions – Three quick responses by Thomas Hoerber
Why did you write this paper?
Because I think that, the link between space tech and sustainability will become more important in the future.
How did you come up with your idea?
This came originally from two ESSCA student papers, who co-authored the paper with me. I was very happy to include a revision of my ideas by students in their own words and ideas.
What can we learn from your paper?
That the space industry will slowly but surely become normal. The growth of space activities necessitates that the same standards, economic, environmental and social, are applied to space companies as to any other company.
The concept of sustainability and its sophistication in sustainable development has become one of the EU’s core policy fields with institutional meaning. European Space policy is acquiring more and more importance in EU politics. A connection between both policy fields seems far-fetched, at first glance.
However, there are already some obvious examples such as earth observation for environmental protection or disaster relief. This article will go further. It will look at issues of the protection of the earth orbit from the more and more serious issue of space debris and it will look at the European Space Agency’s policy towards sustainable development.
Evident issues of environmental pollution resulting from space technologies, such as launchers, will be discussed asking the question of whether space technologies can continue to benefit from exceptional treatment which was conceived for a small sector mainly for scientific purposes.
Today, there is a sizable space industry in Europe and the commercialisation of its services poses this question of whether the space industry is becoming a ‘normal’ part of European industry and therefore should adhere to normal standards of environmental protection. The article will also consider implications for the progress of the European integration process through the lens of European space policy.
This article was published in the Journal of Contemporary European Research (JCER), Volume 15, Issue 1. The latest issue of UACES’s interdisciplinary, open-access, online academic journal is now out. All articles are available open-access (no log-in required) here.