Conceptualising European outer-space security policy in the absence of extra-terrestrial borders

    Activity: Examination, teaching and supervisionSupervision and examination of PhD students of the UGAcademic


    This thesis investigates the European Union’s (EU) conceptualisation of outer space security in the absence of clear borders or boundaries. In doing so, it analyses the means the EU undertakes to secure the space segments of its critical outer space infrastructures and the services they provide. The original contribution to knowledge offered by this thesis is the framing of European outer space security as predicated upon anticipatory mechanisms targeted towards critical outer space infrastructures. The objective of this thesis is to contribute to astropolitical literature through an analysis of the EU’s efforts to secure the space segments of its critical outer space infrastructures, alongside a conceptualisation of outer space security based upon actor-specific threats, critical infrastructures and anticipatory security measures. The EU’s Galileo and Copernicus programmes are identified as future critical outer space infrastructures through their services’ expected contributions to EU-level policy-multiplication and European states and societies, making them examples of regional and global European space power projection.

    Following the designation of the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as critical outer space infrastructures, the thesis details the dangers and risks, both intentional and environmental, which the EU has publicly acknowledged as being the most threatening. Although the specific risk assessments for the Galileo and Copernicus projects are confidential, the generic dangers and risks for satellites in Lower Earth Orbit and Middle Earth Orbit referred to in EU policy documents are explored, including space debris, space weather phenomena, orbital congestion and the possibility of the future weaponisation of near-Earth space. ii
    At a macro-level, the EU’s determination to mitigate both intentional and environmental risks through international diplomacy, improved satellite design and increased awareness of near-Earth space are analysed as being reflective of preventive and preemptive forms of anticipatory security. On a micro-level the EU’s efforts to protect its outer space infrastructures from said risks are framed within the context of critical infrastructure
    CandidatePhilip Slann
    Examination held atUniv Keele, Keele University
    Degree of RecognitionInternational