SWF May 2020 Newsletter
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Upcoming Events

May 7, 2020 
Moon Dialogs Research Salon: The Implications of Dust for Resource Contention and Lunar Policy

May 20, 2020
Space Situational Awareness and Security

May 27, 2020
Cyber Warfare in Space

Jun 3, 2020
Rockets, Missiles, and Space: Lessons from the Hague Code of Conduct and Beyond

Jun 10, 2020
Rethinking PAROS and Looking Ahead at Multilateral Approaches

Sep 10-Sep 11, 2020
Summit for Space Sustainability

Upcoming Engagements

May 13, 2020
Victoria Samson will speak at a virtual Brookings Institute event on policy challenges of orbital debris



Secure World Foundation Newsletter

May 2020

Insight - New Delays on New Debris Rules at the FCC

By Director of Private Sector Programs Ian Christensen and Project Manager Josh Wolny

During the week of April 20, 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a series of decisions that may impact space sustainability. First, they approved a controversial spectrum license for a 5G communications system to be operated by Ligado that may pose significant risk of interference with critical GPS systems and applications. Secondly, they proposed an increase to license fees that may have an adverse financial effect on emerging beneficial small satellite applications and concepts. Third – and most significantly – the FCC extended the deliberation period on many of its proposed improvements to space debris mitigation requirements in future licenses. 

The extension of consideration on these rules fits into a long history and larger context about the U.S. government’s approach to orbital debris. We recently expressed our support for the proposed update to the FCC’s debris mitigation guidelines because other parts of the U.S. government have not made meaningful progress in improving space debris mitigation practices. In this article, we seek to cover the FCC’s space debris mitigation efforts and contextualize the proposed updates and controversies.

Read more here


SWF Selects New Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications 
SWF is pleased to announce that Daniel Porras will be joining our team as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Communications. Mr. Porras serves as the Space Security Fellow at the UN Institute for Disarmament Research, where his work focuses on political and legal issues surrounding space security. Mr. Porras holds an LL.M in International Economic Law from Georgetown University Law Center and his areas of expertise include international space law and policy, emerging technology threats, international law, and political science. SWF is looking forward to welcoming Daniel to the team at the end of June.


Apr 20, 2020
The FCC Takes a Leadership Role in Combating Orbital Debris
Director of Private Sector Programs Ian Christensen, Director of Program Planning Brian Weeden, and Project Manager Josh Wolny explain the 18-month long process that led to the FCC’s latest regulatory actions on orbital debris, why the FCC has a role in orbital debris mitigation, and the major changes in the new rules. The authors discuss why the new rules are largely in line with industry best practices how they would help mitigate the risks posed by the long-term growth in orbital debris.

Apr 27, 2020
Putting the White House Executive Order on Space Resources in an International Context
Mr. Christensen and Space Law Advisor Chris Johnson discuss the international context and space exploration implications of the recent White House Executive Order on space resources in the April 27 edition of the Space Review.

Apr 28, 2020
How the U.S. Seeks to be a Pioneer in Space Resources Norm Development
Mr. Johnson discusses the White House Executive Order on Space Resources, including the use of the term ‘global commons’ and the irrelevance of the Moon Agreement in an op-ed for SpaceWatch.Global.


Apr 6, 2020 
Webinar: Threats, Challenges, and Opportunities in Space
Washington Office Director Victoria Samson and Dr. Weeden joined with the Aerospace Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to hold a video webinar announcing their new 2020 Global Counterspace Capabilities report and the implications for space security. 

Apr 14, 2020
Moon Dialogs Research Salon: Scarce Lunar Resources
The Moon Dialogs project, a partnership between Open Lunar Foundation, Arizona State University, SWF, and MIT Space Exploration Initiative, held the first in a series of online research salons targeted at advancing interdisciplinary lunar policy thinking, relevant to near-term lunar activity. The topic was the implications of scarce lunar resources, and associated policy and coordination considerations featuring discussants Martin Elvis and Alanna Krolikowski.

Apr 24, 2020
SWF Hosts Webinar Discussion of Russia's Recent ASAT Test
Moderated by Ms. Samson, the panel had presentations by Dr. Weeden; Michael Thompson, amateur satellite analyst; Pavel Podvig, Director of the Russian Nuclear Forces Project, and Chris Newman, Professor of Space Law and Policy at Northumbria University at Newcastle. The panelists discussed what is known about the test Russia held of its Nudol interceptor on April 15, 2020; explained how open-source analysis can result in information about the test that might not be shared with the public otherwise; contextualized the test within Russia's larger security priorities; and clarified what the international legal questions were that were raised by the test.

Staff Activities and Presentations 

Apr 16, 2020
SWF Staff Discuss Global Counterspace Developments and Impact on Space Security
Ms. Samson and Dr. Weeden joined the Space Junk Podcast with Annie Handmer to discuss the latest developments in global counterspace capabilities and their impact on space security. They discussed the origins of SWF's annual report on Global Counterspace Capabilities and provided an overview of events from 2019. They also discussed what impact the overall proliferation of counterspace capabilities may have on space security and stability. 

Apr 21, 2020
Space Café WebTalk: “33 minutes with Dr. Brian Weeden”
Dr. Weeden participated in a webinar with SpaceWatch.Global on global counterspace capabilities and summarized the new findings in SWF's annual Global Counterspace Capabilities report. Dr. Weeden explained the major categories of counterspace capabilities that could used against space capabilities and provided an overall assessment of development efforts in China, Russia, the United States, France, Japan, and India. Dr. Weeden also answered audience questions about the current state of counterspace capabilities and the impact on space security.

Apr 21, 2020
SATELLITE 2020 Virtual Session - Defining New Cyber-Security and Network Threat Ecosystems
Ms. Samson participated in a recorded virtual session discussing cybersecurity of space networks and possible ways in which they could be threatened.  This was a delayed session from Satellite 2020, which closed prematurely due to coronavirus concerns. The event was sponsored by the Global VSAT Forum and Via Satellite.

Apr 23, 2020
Status of the Space Force and Where It Goes from Here
Dr. Weeden took part in a webinar "Space Force Gets Down to Business" organized by SpaceNews to discuss the current status of the U.S. Space Force and where it is headed over the next year. The webinar started with a discussion with Lt Gen David Thompson, Vice Commander of the U.S. Space Force, and then proceeded to a panel discussion. Dr. Weeden was joined on the panel by Mr. Todd Harrison and Ms. Kaitlyn Johnson from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. JV Venable from the Heritage Foundation, and retired Col. Bill Woolf from the Space Force Association. The panelists discussed what hurdles the Space Force faces as it continues to evolve, including reforming acquisitions and building the appropriate culture, and what they see happening over the next few years of the process.

Experts in the Media

Apr 1, 2020
SWF Global Counterspace Capabilities Report Featured in SpaceWatchGlobal

Apr 1, 2020
SWF Global Counterspace Capabilities Report Highlighted in Popular Mechanics

Apr 6, 2020
Chris Johnson and Brian Weeden Quoted by BreakingDefense on Implications of new Executive Order on Space Resources

Apr 6, 2020
Chris Johnson Quoted in SpacePolicyOnline on Implications of new Executive Order on Space Resources

Apr 6, 2020
Chris Johnson Quoted in SpaceNews on Space Resources Executive Order

Apr 7, 2020
Ian Christensen Quoted in Axios Space Newsletter on Space Resources Executive Order

Apr 8, 2020
Brian Weeden Quoted by BreakingDefense on FCC's Proposed Orbital Debris Mitigation Rules

Apr 13, 2020
Chris Johnson Quoted in The Space Review on Space Law

Apr 15, 2020
Victoria Samson, Brian Weeden Quoted by BreakingDefense on Russian ASAT Test

Apr 15, 2020
Brian Weeden Quoted by The Verge on Russia's Latest Test of it's Nudol ASAT Weapon

Apr 15, 2020
Brian Weeden Quoted by SpacePolicyOnline About the Implications of Another Russian ASAT Test

Apr 17, 2020
Brian Weeden Quoted by SpaceNews Supporting New FCC Orbital Debris Mitigation Rules

Apr 17, 2020
Victoria Samson Quoted in Bloomberg on US Counterspace Capabilities

Apr 18, 2020
2020 Global Counterspace Report Cited by CNBC Online

Apr 21, 2020
Brian Weeden Quoted by the Washington Post On Impact of First Successful Commercial Satellite Servicing Mission

Apr 22, 2020
Ian Christensen Quoted in The Telegraph on Starlink constellation

Apr 30, 2020
Brian Weeden Quoted by on Russian ASAT Test

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