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WP8. Space

Europe’s approach to numerous challenges today is informed by data coming from Space. The European engagement in Space has been built by diplomacy. Reciprocally, Space has become a support for international relationships and diplomacy, with symbolic, pragmatic and instrumental dimensions. Europe collaborates here with other world regions, sometimes as a go-between (e.g. European Space Agency mediation between Chinese and US agencies). Outer Space activities are soft power sources, enabling a country through media coverage to display international friendships, scientific and technological strengths, and way of life. Space is also the result of continuously renewed practices, engaging actors from various professional and national backgrounds. Experiments aboard spaceships are showcases of active and ongoing science diplomacy, a gathering point of diplomatic imperatives and possible ways of cooperation, expressed on various scales.

The history of the collaborative European space program has been told in detail (Krige and Russo 2000; Krige et al., 2000; Krige 2014). Recent sociological analysis shows how European space programs co-produce science and politics (Lamy & Saint-Martin, 2013). WP8 goes beyond the state of the art to explore the transnational interplay of actors – scientists, officials and diplomats, State and private entrepreneurs, and politicians – engaged in the realization of microgravity scientific experiments aboard spaceships, from their conception through their management in Outer Space. We will show how transnational scientific communities can be promoted, how a global approach to Space is possible beyond the typical tension between competition and cooperation, how the industrial and economic logic of ’just return’ can give way to an integrated European model adequate to current global challenges.