New Space and Tech

Reimagining Near-Earth Space Policy In A Post-COVID World

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
July 25, 2022
Filed under , , ,
Reimagining Near-Earth Space Policy In A Post-COVID World
Gazing at Earth

Our planet and our species are at an existential crossroads. In the long term, climate change threatens to upend life as we know it, while the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic revealed that the world is unprepared and ill-equipped to handle acute shocks to its many systems.

These shocks exacerbate the inequities and challenges already present prior to COVID in ways that are still evolving in unpredictable directions. As weary nations look toward a post-COVID world, we draw attention to both the injustice and many impacts of the quiet occupation of near-Earth space, which has rapidly escalated during this time of global crisis.

The communities most impacted by climate change, the ongoing pandemic, and systemic racism are those whose voices are missing as stakeholders both on the ground and in space. We argue that significant domestic and international changes to the use of near-Earth space are urgently needed to preserve access to – and the future utility of – the valuable natural resources of space and our shared skies. After examining the failure of the U.S. and international space policy status quo to address these issues, we make specific recommendations in support of safer and more equitable uses of near-Earth space.

John C. Barentine, Jessica Heim, Aparna Venkatesan, James Lowenthal, Monica Vidaurri

Comments: 18 pages; published in Virginia Policy Review, Vol. XV, Issue 1 (Spring 2022), pp. 58-86
Subjects: Physics and Society (physics.soc-ph); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Space Physics (
Cite as: arXiv:2207.12292 [physics.soc-ph] (or arXiv:2207.12292v1 [physics.soc-ph] for this version)
Submission history
From: John Barentine
[v1] Sun, 10 Jul 2022 23:36:58 UTC (30 KB) – Full paper

SpaceRef co-founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.