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Working Group on Earth-Space Governance


The increasingly complex developments in the space sector bring a significant impact on earth system governance. With a diverse set of actors building various satellite systems, Earth’s orbit has become a new competitive ground that shapes daily activities on Earth. In addition, the increasing activities on the Moon are reshaping geopolitics, while private enterprises aim to build human settlements on Mars. The expansion of human activities beyond the Earth system is thus shaping and altering the future of planetary sustainability. However, existing studies lack comprehensive conceptual, analytical, and methodological tools to effectively address this rising challenge.

The Working Group on Earth-Space Governance aims to explore the increasing relevance of outer space development on earth system governance. Key research topics include:

  • The changing roles of the state and private actors in view of ‘New Space’, i.e., the rapid privatization of the space sector;
  • The interrelations of (extra)terrestrial politics, i.e., how geopolitics on Earth shape political tension in space and vice versa;
  • Potential global institutional architectures for governing rising space activities;
  • The role of space in the future-making of sustainability; and
  • Challenges for integrative earth-space governance.
  • To Facilitate space governance research in the Earth System Governance community
  • To promote sustainability concerns among the space community and beyond
  • To provide actionable policy insights
  • To support and assist early career researchers


Research Fellows
Senior Research Fellows
Scientific Steering Committe:
  1. Prof. Frank Biermann, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
  2. Prof. Aarti Gupta, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  3. Prof. Jean-Frédéric Morin, Laval University, Canada
  4. Dr. Florian Rabitz, Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania
  5. Dr. Quentin Verspieren, European Space Agency, France; Tokyo University, Japan
  6. Prof. Oran Young, University of California, United States
Expert Advisory Board:
  1. Krystal Azelton, Secure World Foundation, United States
  2. Emmanuelle David, EPFL Space Center, Switzerland
  3. Dr. Tim Flohrer, European Space Agency Space Debris Office, Germany
  4. Dr. Susmita Mohanty, Spaceport Sarabhai, India
  5. Prof. Thomas Schildknecht, University of Bern, Switzerland


We welcome early career researchers, senior academics, and experts in the field to become members of the Working Group on Earth-Space Governance. Please get in touch with Dr. Xiao-Shan Yap at if you are interested.


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