Handbook for New Actors in Space

Document Type


Publication Date


Course Date

Spring 2019

Course Number

CSO 460

Course Title

Applied Spaceflight Policy and Regulation


Driven by Cold War tensions between the US and the Soviet Union, the space race began almost 60 years ago. Each power was racing to accomplish new feats in space and demonstrate its superiority. In 2017, while much remains the same, much has changed. Space actors comprise a wide variety of national and non-governmental entities comprising diverse rationales, goals, and activities. More than 70 states, commercial companies, and international organizations currently operate more than 1,500 satellites in Earth orbit. Driven largely by the commoditization of space technology and the lowering of barriers to participation, the number of space actors is growing.

This broadening of space has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, it is leading to greatly increased technological innovations, lower costs, and greater access to the beneficial capabilities and services offered by satellites. However, the accelerated growth in space activities and the influx of new actors has the potential to exacerbate many of the current threats to the long-term sustainable use of space. These threats include on-orbit crowding, radio-frequency interference, and the chances of an incident in space sparking or escalating geopolitical tensions on Earth.

Michael K. Simpson, Ph.D. - Executive Director, Secure World Foundation


Nothing contained in this book is to be considered as rendering legal advice for specific cases, and readers are responsible for obtaining such advice from their legal counsel. This book is intended for educational and informational purposes only.

The Handbook for New Actors in Space by the Secure World Foundation is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

ISBN: 978-0-692-85141-8