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Space has become a crucial theme in the main international think tanks’ research activities as it entails important strategic, economic, and technological issues.

Since 2001, Ifri has integrated space in its research, notably by ensuring that the political dimension of scientific and human exploration programs is emphasized, and by supporting reflections on the Code of Conduct for Outter Space Activities.

Today, as part of its research agenda, Ifri mobilizes several of its centers and programs to transversally tackle the theme of space, through three main inputs:

  • the competition of powers, driven by the Sino-American rivalry;
  • critical points related to mastery of space, such as the issue of autonomous access to space or the mega-constellations necessary for the digital revolution;
  • these developments’ challenges for Europe and its status as a space power.

Since the Summer 2020, Ifri has been coordinating a tripartite European Space Governance Initiative, together with two other renowned European think tanks: the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik (DGAP) in Germany and the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in Italy.


Research Fellow, Space

Claude-France ARNOULD

Special Advisor to the President for European Affairs 

The European Space Governance Initiative, coordinated by Ifri, brings together three leading European think tanks: the French institute of international relations (Ifri) in France, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik (DGAP) in Germany and the Instituto...

In only three decades, China has become one of the world’s top space powers. At the turn of the 2020s, almost suddenly, China became the main challenger to the US, although with a significant remaining gap to bridge.


In April 2021, the Chinese government officially, but rather quietly, established a new state-owned enterprise (SOE) named China SatNet. Its mission: build out China’s “mega-constellation” program for low Earth orbiting internet satellites, known as Guowang (“national network”).


China-Russia cooperation in space has been increasing for the past two decades. This cooperation accelerated after the Crimea crisis in 2014 and culminated with the announcement in 2021 of the joint construction of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS).<...>

By: Alain DE NEVE

The unprecedented growth of space activities, the multiplication as well as diversification of players involved in the exploitation of outer space, and even, more generally, the dependence of all sectors of activity on space infrastructures are some of the main phenomena that have led to a...

Tuesday 23 April 2013
from 09:00 to 14:15 - Seminars and Round-table Conferences

This closed seminar is a collaboration endeavor. A general introduction and two short presentations on legal and political points of view will set the stage for what we hope will be an engaging discussion, under the guidance of an experienced moderator. Each participant will be asked to ...

Tuesday 30 October 2012
from 08:00 to 16:30 - Seminars and Round-table Conferences

On-orbit satellite servicing (OOS) and Active debris removal (ADR) are part of an emerging category of future on-orbit activities that are critical for taking the next leap into our use of Earth orbit. The ability to repair or refuel satellites, construct new satellites in orbit, and even...

Tuesday 13 September 2011
from 09:00 to 16:30 - Conférences

The conference will provide a snapshot of the current governance of space programs in Europe. The first panel will explore structural issues: the implications of the Lisbon Treaty in terms of policy, the legal context for space activities in Europe and the burning topics of sustainable funding...

Monday 04 October 2010 to Tuesday 05 October 2010
from Monday 4 October 2010 13:30 to Tuesday 5 October 2010 12:30 - Conférences

As European institutions continue to consider the use of space for security as well as the need for security in space, the United States has known a series of space reviews this past year. To explore these issues and foster an original debate, the Secure World Foundation, newly established in...

Monday 29 March 2010 to Tuesday 30 March 2010
from Monday 29 March 2010 09:00 to Tuesday 30 March 2010 12:30 - External Events

Conference organized in Geneva by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), in collaboration with the Secure World Foundation and The Simons Foundation, with support from the Governments of the People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation.

By: Florian VIDAL, and José Halloy, article published in The Conversation

The series For All Mankind (2019) is a fictional alternate history that imagines a world where the Soviet Union was the first power to send an astronaut to the moon. From that starting point, the two rival superpowers compete to establish their own lunar station.