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IASC 2021 Commons in Space Virtual Conference

February 24, 2021 - February 26, 2021

Commons in space

Aim & Scope

We are pleased to announce our call for individual presentations, special sessions, and webinar panel discussions. This conference aims to bring together scholars and practitioners on the commons in space. We will cover topics from the satellites and space debris increasingly congesting orbital space, mining of celestial bodies, diverse perspectives on space as a global commons, protection of dark night sky, going beyond Antarctica and High Sea regulations as models for space law, and much more.

The topic of outer space as global commons received a boost of attention by the April 2020 Executive Order of President Donald J Trump, declaring that outer space should not be viewed as a global commons. What are the implications of this perspective, as well as the increasing participation of private actors in space exploration? How do we create a fair use of the benefits of knowledge and innovations due to space research? How do we solve collective action problems to ensure the long-term sustainability of space exploration activities?

As a virtual conference within a series of conferences organized by the International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC), we will facilitate a discussion between space scholars and scholars studying more traditional commons. What can we learn from governing shared resources on Earth to derive fair and productive outcomes when governing shared resources in space? And what can commons scholars, working on local and regional scales, learn from space commons that face governance on a scale beyond planet Earth? How can commons scholarship provide models for diverse stakeholder groups to have agency and voice as humanity takes important steps towards sustained human presence on the Moon, Mars and beyond?


  • Moon governance – how to regulate the use of various types of resources on the Moon in light of recent U.S. developments?
  • Governance challenges for Mars exploration.
  • The future of space governance – If outer space is a global commons, how can the international framework deal with the increasing diversity of actors?
  • Reasoning by Analogy: Is Space like Antarctica, the High Seas, or Cyberspace?
  • Earth orbit use – Governance of orbital environment for use on satellites, spacecraft and telecommunications.
  • What can we learn from terrestrial commons, such as fisheries, to manage our orbital commons?
  • Mining of celestial bodies – What are the possible governance arrangements, and what can we learn on governance from mining on planet Earth?
  • Sustainable development of space – what are concepts that could be used to promote sustainability?
  • Access to outcomes of space exploration (for example, access to satellite data and other discoveries, innovations)
  • How to manage shared resources in human spaceflight and human missions to Mars?
  • Unlocking space benefit: defining different types of values of the space sector and how to measure impacts
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals and the commons of space
  • How to manage the cultural and scientific heritage of space exploration
  • Dark sky as a global commons – governance of dark skies in the interests of astronomy, wildlife, and dark cities movement.
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2nd ESA Workshop on Advanced Manufacturing - ESA/ESTEC


February 24, 2021
February 26, 2021




The International Association for the Study of the Commons