16th Space Generation Congress

Working Groups

During the 2017 Space Generation Congress, delegates will participate in Working Groups led by moderators and including subject matter experts and a keynote speaker. The outcome of the discussions will be compiled into a report and presented at IAC 2017, UNCOPUOS, and other global conferences.


Working Group 1: Space Exploration

Expanding global partnerships off earth

Kindly sponsored by NASA Advanced Exploration Systems



With the 2020s rapidly approaching, space agencies and private companies around the world are preparing for bold new missions on and around the moon. Great potential exists for collaborative partnerships to advance science, technology and our understanding of the solar system. With combined infrastructures throughout cislunar space, what opportunities might be available for governments, industry, academia and private citizens to become active participants in deep space? To further refine this concept, this working group will focus on the utilization of deep space capabilities that will be available in the 2020s, based on current mission plans that have been announced by space agencies and private companies. Participants representing the aerospace industry or space agencies should be prepared to share the technology goals, capability objectives and commercial strategies on behalf of their employers. Capability objectives could include launch, habitation, power and propulsion, mobility, tools, ISRU, communications, robotics, and more.

The working group will face the following questions:


Primary Question (ISECG):

Within the context of the global planning efforts and using the information provided in the ISECG Science White Paper, identify compelling activities in cislunar space and the lunar surface that will a) be mutually beneficial to all partners by contributing to multiple national and organization objectives, b) leverage the DSH systems and capabilities and science performed as described at the ISECG white paper and c) emphasize focus economic expansion and partnerships.

Desired Outcome: Recommendations to include 2‐3 “baseball cards” with a top‐level description of suggested activities and expeditions cislunar and lunar surface.

Secondary (Commercial):

Identify new partnerships and collaboration opportunities to be included in the primary expeditions by capturing inputs related to 1) commercial space missions, 2) emerging technologies and 3) new markets that will be available in the next 5‐10 years but have not yet been considered for mainstream space mission planning efforts.

Desired Outcome: Discuss what space agencies and potential service providers could do in the next 5­-10 years to realize future ambitions.

With combined infrastructures throughout cislunar space, what opportunities might be possible for governments, industry, academia and private citizens to become active participants in deep space?

Moderators: Nicole Hermann (NASA AES), Joao Lousada (SGAC/GMV Insyen AG)

Rapporteur: Ryan Joyce, Carmen Felix

Topic Keynote Speaker: Jason Crusan (NASA AES)

Subject Matter Expert: Marshall Smith (NASA AES)

Working Group 2: Space Diplomacy

Space Resources Governance

Kindly sponsored by Secure World Foundation


Increased access to outer space and the expected demand for resources both on Earth and in space have led to the awareness that resources matter, even those beyond our planet. The recent mushrooming of commercial ventures and state-driven projects dedicated to space resource utilisation is testament to this observation. With such advances and endeavours comes the pressing need to assess the governance framework for space resources. In response to the increasing importance of space resources utilisation, the UNCOPUOS Legal Subcommittee has included considerations on the topic as an agenda item. Moreover, the Hague Space Resources Governance Working Group (SRGWG) was set up in December 2014 to address the lack of a governance framework. There is near consensus among stakeholders that the governance framework should ensure that space resources are gathered and utilised in a peaceful and sustainable manner and that legal certainty for investors, explorers and miners is imperative. This working group will assess space resources governance and make suggestions to address the challenges.

The working group will face the following questions:

Focus: What factors should the international community consider in formulating policy responses to the issues under the four broad building blocks?

Desired outcome: Identification of sub-topics and issues under each of the four building blocks. This might include identification and definition of key terms, formulation of suggested policy approaches, identification of gaps in knowledge of business and/or technology plans, and description of models of activity and/or benefit.

Focus: What are the pathways towards discussion, implementation and adoption of proposals to improve space resources governance? What are specific steps that the UN, international organisations, and national governments can take in implementing proposed space resources governance models and what are potential obstacles to overcome?

Desired outcome: Suggested mechanisms by which the policy/legal and scientific/industry communities might improve information sharing on the topics represented by the building blocks. Suggested forums for consideration of any proposals for space resources governance, be they that of the SRGWG or otherwise.

Focus: What is the role of the youth generation in ensuring long term sustainable management of space resources?

Desired outcome: Delegates will broaden their personal knowledge of the topic, and be able to articulate ways in which their roles in the space sector relate to space policy and governance topics and challenges associated with the ongoing commercialisation of space.

Moderator: Caroline Thro (SGAC/ESA)

Rapporteur: Maryanne Muriuki, Olga Stelmakh

Topic Keynote Speaker: Jose Oracio-Christian (Caelus Partners)

Subject Matter Expert: Ian Christensen (SWF), Krystal Wilson (SWF)


Working Group 3: Space Law

Outer Space Treaty

Kindly sponsored by Defence Science and Technology Group, Australian Department of Defence

Kindly co-sponsored by Shoal



In 1967, when the Outer Space Treaty (OST) was created, it was a beacon of hope for the future regulation of Outer Space, articulating aspirations to guide us as we went beyond the horizon to the great expanse of space. At the same time the OST reflected the reality of competing interests and concerns of rival nuclear superpowers. While a product of its time, the OST remains the foundational legal document that governs all of humanity’s activities in space. As we approach the OST’s 50th anniversary, the broad statements and principles in the OST that have served us well in the past must be further defined to meet the challenges of  global space governance that we will face over the next 50 years. Attempts to provide more detail and greater clarity to the OST will be contentious. Supplementing the OST must balance the “province of mankind” principle and humanity’s emerging needs against the politics of State interests. Any proposed supplementation must be both achievable in the near term and meaningful. The proposals should be applicable today and many years from now. Overall, this working group will assess how the OST can be adapted for the next generation to enjoy the benefits of space over the next 50 years.

The working group will face the following questions:

1) What principles are needed to avert a tragedy of the commons caused by space debris?

Consider also the governance mechanisms that could make one person's space trash another person’s space treasure.

2) How do we balance intergenerational equity in the benefits of space with commercial imperatives and innovation?  

Consider also the possibility of having fair trade in space.

3) Should the legal regime for outer space seek to prevent further militarisation, or must we accept it as inevitable and seek only to regulate it?

Moderators: Tyson Lange (SGAC/Clayton Utz)

Rapporteur: Monique Hollick, Kristin Shahady

Topic Keynote Speaker: David Kendall (Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space)

Subject Matter Expert: Ken Grant (DST), Crystal Forrester (DST), Roger Franzen (Shoal), Duncan Blake (IALPG)


Working Group 4: Space Innovation

Moon Village: the next frontier of space innovation

Kindly sponsored by the European Space Agency


With the International Space Station approaching the end of its life-cycle we are at a critical tipping point for Human Space Exploration. Several nations and private companies are currently planning independent programs that target the Moon in the near and mid-term, providing the international space community with the opportunity to collaborate. Since several months the vision of a Moon Village was put forward by ESA’s Director General for a new open partnership wider and stronger than the ISS - promoting diversity.

The Moon Village is intended as an open-ended framework embracing multiple users for multiple and diverse utilisations. The Moon Village will require robotic, automatic and human-tended systems making it suitable for the participation of all nations with different degree of space or technological capabilities.

Moreover, the Moon Village will offer the opportunity to forge new alliances between public and public entities to expand the permanent presence of humankind beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to further our knowledge, enlarge our the economic sphere of our activities and provide humanity with a unifying goal for peaceful cooperation.  Finally, the Moon Village is intended to unfold in the context of a unique governance scheme and could become an innovation platform and research network for the 21st century.

An opportunity to design our interplanetary lives beckons to us, our challenge: how can we collectively prepare for novel, cost effective and agile programs for space settlement and allow for space agencies, philanthropists, citizens and commercial space to create an integrated, mutually reinforcing strategy? Shifting from isolated impact to collective impact is not merely a matter of encouraging more collaboration or Public-Private Partnerships. What is also needed is the informal sense of shared values, sources of pride, common language, and trust in others’ intentions to tackle the issues and problems that emerge “off-plan”.

The Moon Village vision is ambitious, but it is achievable in the coming decade if all the key actors in the Moon Village ecosystem collaborate effectively.


The working group will face the following questions:

1) How to interest and engage non traditional space players to invest and participate in elaborating the Moon Village vision?

2) How do we inspire and enable an international partnership larger and stronger than the International Space Station? (the Moon Village as a symbol of diversity and inclusivity for all humanity)

3) How might we create a global Moon Village awareness movement in order to collectively elaborate the Moon Village concept? (crowdsourcing, citizen science, civic tech, universities)

4) Which are the near to mid term commercial lunar development opportunities and activities enabled by getting to the Lunar Surface, setting the stage for a potential Moon Village after the end of ISS in the mid 2020s?

5) How can space agencies facilitate any or all of the above?


Moderators: Josef Wiedemann (DLR)

Rapporteur: Daniel Wischert, Timothy Fist

Topic Keynote Speaker: Piero Messina (ESA)

Subject Matter Expert: Kyle Acierno (iSpace Europe)


Working Group 5: Space Transportation

With the support of Blue Origin


The space transportation sector is undergoing a process of significant change. Traditionally, it has operated in a relatively noncompetitive environment, financed by the public sector to serve mostly itself and in a limited way the private sector - for example the satellite communications industry. Recently the space transportation sector has become the key bottleneck for new commercial opportunities, for example in space tourism, asteroid and lunar mining, commercialization of government launch services, mega constellation applications, and so on. The growing development activities currently observed within this environment are being driven by the demand for commercialization of space, and the emergence of new, fully or partially privately funded players could lead to a sustainable space infrastructure. This change promises to make the access to space globally affordable, regardless of public or private clients, which will not only enable all nations to become space faring but facilitate  a global and a sustainable space economy that provides a wide range of socio-economic benefits through the exploitation of space assets.

This new space economy will have differing motivations and needs for service solutions in comparison to the traditional market. To adapt to these new demands, the space transportation sector (public as well as private players) and its various stakeholders must overcome a broad range of challenges. Such challenges could include technical, economic, geopolitical, regulatory and policy issues. Meeting these challenges will be crucial to the space transportation sector in pursuing these new opportunities and fulfilling its role as the workhorse in the future space economy.


This working group will focus on identifying how the space transportation sector can change in coming decades to meet the rising needs for service solutions, as well as the resulting challenges the different stakeholders will face. The working group will also identify how these challenges might be met, and establish a framework for how SGAC might contribute to this change.

The working group will face the following questions:

  1. Who are the potential future stakeholders within the space transportation sector (from policy / development to end user)? What are the potential solutions the sector may offer in the future and how do these differ from traditional solutions and customer needs?
  2. What are the challenges which the sector and its stakeholders might face in meeting these new needs?
  3. Which stakeholders in the sector (launch service providers, clients, government entities, etc.) have the capability or responsibility to meet these challenges? What role could a NGO like SGAC play in this process?


Moderators: Matthew Richardson (JAXA)

Rapporteur: Marta Lebrón Gaset, Joshua Kiefer

Topic Keynote Speaker: Clay Mowry (Blue Origin)

Subject Matter Expert: Justin Hardi (DLR)


Working Group 6: Space Technologies

Laser Space Communications

Kindly sponsored by NASA Space Communications and Navigation



Laser communications, also known as optical communications, are believed to be one of the latest game changing space technologies. Laser communications would be able to provide data rates of as much as a hundred times higher than current systems. NASA SCaN and its partners are working to revolutionise the way astronauts communicate to and from space using an advanced laser communications system called LEMNOS, which will enable exponentially faster connections than ever before. NASA has already conducted the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) in 2013, and is planning to launch the Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) to geostationary orbit in 2019, followed by the Deep Space Optical Communications terminal on the Discovery Psyche mission in 2022.  This working group will explore common standards to enable interoperability between laser communication systems.

This working group will face the following questions:

1) Brainstorm about the wide range of Link scenarios/applications for this exciting new laser communications technology.

2) Consider the challenges in finding a “common” interoperable FSOC mode—akin to the International Telecommunication Union Optical Transport Network (OTN) standard agreed to by the ground based fiber telecommunications industry.

3) Provide recommendations about how to achieve a common industry position on FSOC system interoperability to enable the level of cross support required by international space agencies (Interoperability agreements/ Leveraging of Existing standards (e.g., OTN, DVB-S2), Interface Control Documents (ICDs)).

Moderators: Shreya Santra (SGAC/Skoltech)

Rapporteur: Graham Johnson, Alena Probst

Topic Keynote Speaker: Dr. Stephen A. Townes (JPL)

Subject Matter Expert: Kate Becker (NOAA)


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