Space technologies have been widely hailed for their potential to improve people’s lives so innovation within space and International Development (ID) are becoming increasingly interrelated. Our work is organised around three themes:
Technology and Inclusion: We aim to map the use of space technologies in ID programmes that aim to improve the living conditions of marginalised communities. We evaluate their effectiveness using the theory of ‘Inclusive Innovation’.
We ask: How can space technologies be used effectively and equitably as a tool to achieve societal impacts?
Partnerships: The UN, EU and corporate actors have all supported the building of partnerships between space and development research. Sustainable Development Goal 17 encourages this and is a priority for the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs. Simultaneously, the African Union Agenda for 2063 explicitly mentions ‘space’ as a priority area for Africa.
We ask: What do cooperation and partnerships in space exploration mean on a geopolitical scale? At a time when African countries are investing in their own space programmes, are these partnerships equitable?
Ethics: Astrobiology raises several ethical issues including who has the right to space and for what purpose? We look at astrobiology as a global discipline and explore ways in which the knowledge produced through accessing extreme environments, often located in the Global South, can be democratised.
We ask: What are the practices and conduct on Earth that underpin space research?