Astropolitics: Space Policy and International Relations

Module code: PL7099

Outer space is about more than just rocket science. Space is a political, military, and economic environment, just like the sea and the air on Earth. This module introduces you to an international study of the politics of outer space – or astropolitics: the political nature of space programmes and the politics of space policy.

The thousands of orbiting machines above our planet provide a ubiquitous political, military, and economic infrastructure that sits at the vanguard of a shifting distribution of power in the international system. The module will develop your understanding and comprehension of key terms such as ‘spacepower’, ‘space policy’, and ‘space programmes’ which increasingly define state and commercial power in the 21st century. The module also develops your understanding of space programmes and policies in the wider context of other state goals, as well as the international political context that space activities take place within.

In addition to the politics of outer space, the module will help you to develop an in depth knowledge of the military and violent applications of space technologies in the pursuit of security and war-making capacities on Earth. This module, whilst rooted in International Relations and geared towards an International Relations approach to outer space, is multidisciplinary in scope and brings in insights and knowledge from international history, science and technology studies, and space science and engineering. Drawing from expert research-led teaching on the politics of outer space, you will develop a rare expertise in the nascent field of astropolitics by studying this module.

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