Paper to be presented at upcoming Moon Village Association Cyber Conference.
By Joseph N. Pelton (Dean Emeritus – International Space University) and Jim Crisafulli (Director – Hawaii Space Industry Innovation Program [HiSpace])
The purpose of this paper is to announce the formation of the Global Space Alliance (GSA) and to invite the Moon Village Association (MVA) to consider joining in this coalition’s activities. In particular, MVA’s role might be to assist in organizing and/or participating in one of the global webinars being planned for a GSA Cyber Congress event in 2021 that will focus on Lunar and Space Exploration and Settlements (as outlined in our PowerPoint presentation).
The idea of establishing a global alliance or coalition of space-related organizations worldwide that could both promote and enable international collaboration on new space ventures of all types has been at various stages of planning since 2016. At that time, a presentation was made to the U.N. COPUOS Technical Subcommittee under the banner of an “International Lunar Decade”, envisioned to run from 2020 to 2030. This initiative was intended to spur a revival of space applications, science, and exploration in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo Moon landing in July 1969.
David Dunlop, who was representing the National Space Society’s International Committee, made a presentation on the many new and diversified space activities and developments that might be possible (at that time) within a decade. His presentation suggested that space enterprise, advanced through such organizations as COSPAR, the International Council for Science, the International Space Exploration Coordinating Group, the G7 and G20 countries, and various space agencies, might be developed and coordinated under an International Lunar Decade (ILD) coalition of countries and space-related organizations. This was envisioned to be similar to the International Geophysical Year (IGY) activities of the mid-1950s, promoting public-private partnerships and multinational alliances that could advance and diversify innovative space activities.
For a variety of reasons, this particular proposal was not globally-organized and fully funded in time to launch this initiative as part of the 2020-2030 decadal celebration. Nevertheless, many of the innovative ideas and aspirations that inspired the ILD concept are incorporated into the GSA vision, through which many innovative and inspiring space ventures could be organized and implemented (under a new spirit of international cooperation) through collaborative projects. It is anticipated that many of these initiatives could be carried out in the relative near-term, although some might require much more time to achieve.
This global space initiative, now referred to as the Global Space Alliance (GSA), would engage not only major-space faring nations (and their space agencies), but also multinational space organizations, entrepreneurial/private space enterprise, not-for-profit organizations, and developing countries with an interest in space applications and training. It would thus promote space-education and training activities among its goals, and actively reach out to both space-faring and non-space faring nations. It also would seek to engage the multiple organizations that are members of the International Astronomical Federation, participants in COSPAR, and groups referenced in the original proposal to the COPUOS Technical Subcommittee.
A group that includes representatives from the HiSpace Advisory Team in Hawaii and several additional organizations including the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS), the McGill University Air and Space Law Institute, the International Space University (ISU), and other space-related institutions, are being recruited to join this coalition, and are now beginning to collaborate on creating an operational framework within which projects could be coordinated and further enhanced through new international partnerships.
Multiple crises are now facing our small and fragile planet that have emerged from our growth in a closed eco-system. Sustainability of a global civilization of eight billion citizens is being challenged as never before, and now is the time to explore the opportunities that space enterprise can offer – both to preserve the habitability of Planet Earth and to enable new opportunities for human exploration and development that lie beyond.
It is anticipated the GSA (and new cooperative relationships that might be formed under this initiative) could help achieve these goals – including enhanced global collaboration in space activities that could enable substantial progress in many areas, such as global sustainability, civilian and public- private space development, lunar and deep space exploration and settlements, planetary defense against cosmic hazards, removal and/or recovery/reuse of orbital space debris, cooperative space training programs, and much more.
This is clearly a multidisciplinary challenge, involving science, technology, economics, legal regulations, philosophy and ethics, and education. It will require broad alliances among public and private entities, as well as the expansion and diversification of international partnerships, and will offer substantial opportunities for enhanced cost savings, new scientific knowledge and advanced engineering capabilities, and collaboration in such areas as global sustainability and planetary defense against cosmic hazards.
It is also anticipated that many other organizations, including the Moon Village Association (MVA), will decide to join this initiative in coming months, and that they will consider playing an active role in one or more of the global webinars envisioned for March and April 2021. The McGill University Institute of Air and Space Law and the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety (IAASS) have already organized several successful webinar events, with hundreds of international participants from around the world. Our proposed Cyber Congress would provide an expansion of these internet-based activities.
In order to launch this movement, a Global Space Alliance Congress is being planned for mid- March to mid-April of 2021. This Congress would be conducted through webinars staged in 3-hour daily segments, and would be designed (and variously timed) to engage representatives from the
Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Discussion topics for the GSA Congress will likely include: (1) space safety; (2) fully-reusable space launch and enhanced transportation systems; (3) new initiatives to address orbital space debris challenges; (4) space financing, institutional organization, and legal arrangements to support new international space efforts; (5) innovative technical R&D goals to support new space applications and global sustainability; (6) lunar and space exploration and settlements; (7) space training and education; (8) space weather, cosmic hazards, and planetary defense; and (9) organizational arrangements for the ongoing GSA initiative.
Participation in the GSA will be open to all space-related organizations that agree to support this initiative by signing an MOU (outlining the goals of this program) with the GSA. A companion power-point presentation to this document (providing examples of some of the topics that might be presented at the global webinars in 2021) will be posted on various web sites (5 MB), along with information on how to register for the GSA webinars in coming weeks.