Merchants and Guardians

Balancing U.S. Interests in Space Commerce

by Scott Pace

Current challenges for space policy are examined in this study, particularly those derived from the growth of space commerce and resulting conflicts between public and private sector interests. After a review of old and new visions of space development, a model for policy conflict is introduced using the terms "Merchants" and "Guardians" to describe the differing objectives of public and private sector interests. Conflicts over dual-use technologies, such as space launch, remote sensing, satellite navigation, and communications are described, along with special implications for military space policy. The study concludes that various international organizations, such as the ITU and the WTO, will be of greater importance to space policy than in the past. While maintaining their separate roles, industry and government will have greater need to collaborate in shaping the international environment for space policy in order to achieve their economic and security objectives.

Originally published in: Balancing National Interests in Space Development, International Space Policy Forum, George Washington University, Elliott School of International Affairs, pp. 5-66.

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