Said@Duke: Astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell on Regulating Outer Space
Since the onset of Russia's large-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the wide array of readily available data sets from commercial space platforms have allowed the world to understand the ongoing dynamics of both the military conflict and related civil and humanitarian issues in an unprecedented level of detail.
A recent Duke Space Diplomacy Lab webinar examined this development, featuring Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He discussed the role that both government-sponsored science satellites and commercial orbital imaging platforms now play in supporting vital open-source intelligence work covering a wide array of issues, from geopolitical trends and humanitarian assistance delivery on the ground, to managing contingencies in space, like orbital traffic management and space debris tracking. McDowell is also editor of Jonathan's Space Report, a free internet newsletter founded in 1989 that provides technical details of satellite launches.
The Dec. 16 webinar was hosted by lab co-founders Giovanni Zanalda, director of the Rethinking Diplomacy Program and a Duke professor of the practice in economics and history with the Social Science Research Institute, and Benjamin Schmitt, a research associate and project development scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.