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Space Diplomacy and Satellite Data with Mariel Borowitz


As satellites around the planet proliferate, the tug they feel from international tensions seems to rival the gravitational pull exerted by the Earth itself. On issues from Space Traffic Management to scientific data sharing, the need for global cooperation is high but rarely easy.

Dr. Mariel Borowitz is head of the Program on International Affairs, Science, and Technology at Georgia Tech’s Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, where she is an Associate Professor, and author of Open Space: The Global Effort for Open Access to Environmental Satellite Data, which dives deeply into the history of government agencies’ and international organizations’ tough choices about when and how to share scientific information collected by various orbiting platforms.

David Priess chatted with her about the domain of space diplomacy; auroras and satellites; the Artemis crew; the Space Force; the James Webb Space Telescope; working at NASA headquarters; the changing nature of satellite constellations; Starlink; Space Situational Awareness and Space Traffic Management; countries’ choices about making data from satellites freely available; the evolution of LANDSAT; the history of satellite data sharing by entities in the United States, Europe, Russia, China, Japan, and India; the inhibiting effects of Russia’s war in Ukraine; commercialization of satellite systems; how to grow space diplomats; and more.

Among the works mentioned in this episode:

The movie 2001

The movie 2010

The movie The Martian

The TV show The Expanse

The movie Arrival

Queen guitarist Brian May’s work on the New Horizons mission

The Chatter podcast episode Satellites, Space Debris, and Hollywood with Aaron Bateman

The movie Gravity

Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced and edited by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.

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