Space policy has numerous concrete implications on our contemporary and future lives, but doing research on a topic like this regularly meets with raised eyebrows and amused smiles. People tend to associate space with Star Trek rather than with Galileo, and refer to science fiction rather than political science. As the former vice-president of the European Commission, Günter Verheugen, rightly says in his foreword to the new book on European Space Policy – European integration and the final frontier, ‘it needs a certain amount of courage and dedication to make the case for a European Space Policy and to advocate its role in the ongoing process of European integration’.
Courage and dedication is a resource that Thomas Hoerber and his co-editor Paul Stephenson have plenty of. At a moment where the European project seems to be caught in the quicksand of reinstated border controls, the migrant crisis, and Brexit threats, they stubbornly persist in showing that behind the scenes, the constructive work on European cooperation continues, involving many different actors and yielding relevant results.
Their edited volume fills a gap in the European Studies literature, as it gives evidence to the fact that the achivements and challenges of European Space Policy are neither a preserve of engineers and technicians, nor a playground for nerds and dreamers, but a research topic of interest and relevance to the social sciences and humanities.
In an interview, Thomas Hoerber speaks about the motivations behind his book and the potential of his research topic.
European Space Policy – European integration and the final frontier is published by Routledge in the ‘Routledge Advances in European Politics‘ series.