Among all the excitement and engineering challenges of reaching space, it’s easy to lose sight of the true goal: expanding humanity beyond the limits of Earth. We not only must be technically capable of space exploration, but prepared as a society for this change by building a framework for our spacefaring future. In SSI, we believe that understanding the social, economic, political, and philosophical underpinnings of space is just as important as building the hardware and software. SSI’s Policy Team exists to bridge this gap between science and society. We hope to anticipate the issues we’ll face over the next decades so that as soon as the technology is there, we’re ready for launch.
The SSI Policy Team is currently collaborating with For All Moonkind, a non-governmental organization working towards the preservation of common human heritage on the moon. Last year, the policy team wrote a research paper about preserving human heritage in space and then travelled to Vienna, Austria to present the research to the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. The policy team plans to keep working with For All Moonkind this year!
Each year, the Policy Team also sends members to the Citizens for Space Exploration Conference in Washington, DC, where we speak directly with lawmakers and elected officials, working to promote space exploration and determine the role of government in space.
The SSI Policy Team hosts bi-weekly book club meetings. Our members read and discuss novels from the science fiction, space, historical fiction, sci-fi/fantasy genres and more. These books provide perspective on current, past, and future issues involving space and bring life to theoretical topics. We even have the authors of some of novels join us for discussions (including Kim Stanley Robinson)! Everyone is welcome to participate.
As part of giving members the hands-on experience needed to work in the aerospace industry of the 21st century, SSI projects have to also engage with state and federal regulations. Members of the Policy team coordinate regulatory compliance for the organization at large, ensuring our activities remain above board on their way to space.
Throughout the last year, the policy team has been collaborating with The Stanford Daily to produce Looking Up, a bi-weekly op-ed about space policy. Our members have the opportunity to publish their opinions on all kinds of topics within the realm of space policy, everything from space militarization to the commercialization of astronauts. Writing for Looking Up is an opportunity open to all Policy team members and is a great way to engage the larger Stanford community in space policy discussions.
New posts can be found in The Stanford Daily and on our blog, every two weeks!
Understanding what’s happening in space policy means following space news. In order to help spread the discussion of space policy, the policy team hosts a weekly podcast. This Week in Space features discussions of relevant news stories and issues in space policy. Any policy team member is welcome to become a podcast contributor. Be sure to check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and most other podcast platforms.