Politics and War in Outer Space

Module code: PL3144

Space is more than just rocket science. It is an under-examined geopolitical environment and frontier of International Relations and it is undergoing vast changes as space is opened up for multipolar power politics and corporate profit-making. Without space infrastructure, the most powerful military forces and economic systems on Earth could grind to a halt. For some, space is the high-ground of the 21st century where terrestrial politics will continue by other means. For others, it is a realm where humans can and should do things differently than they do on Earth. This module approaches politics, war, and security in outer space through the lenses of strategic theories, security studies, international history, and IR theory to provide a broad grasp of the developments in space power in Earth orbit and beyond. 

This module will familiarise you with contentious issues such as space weaponisation and space arms control, the rise of China as a space power to rival the United States, the political problems of space debris, global governance and the emergence of the ‘Second Space Age’, and will encourage you to think about larger questions of humanity’s entry into the cosmos and what the proliferation of space technology means for politics and IR down on Earth. This module is based on cutting-edge research from one of the few dedicated experts in the emergent field of astropolitics, and is open to empirical as well as theoretically-minded students who are interested in outer space and technology’s role in politics, war, and IR.

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