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February 13 PDAA Program Examines Diplomacy in Space Exploration

International Space Station crew members

Crew members from U.S., Russia, and Japan aboard the International Space Station, December 2015. (NASA.gov)

(14 January 2017) From John Glenn to Elon Musk, Americans who dare to go to space have inspired Americans from the first days of the space program.   Through State, the U.S. has been a leader at the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) and other international fora on space and earth sciences.

PDAA’s program on Monday, February 13 explored diplomacy’s role in the incredible accomplishments of last 50 years in space exploration and stewardship of our planet through the earth sciences.  Participants heard from three top experts in the field of space diplomacy about how space activities have bolstered diplomacy and how diplomacy has bolstered the cooperation.

The public’s interest in space and space exploration rarely flags, bolstered by the inspiring work of NASA and its formidable public affairs operations.  In cooperation with USAID, NASA’s satellite data has been used to track elephant populations in Botswana and floods in Bangladesh.  Kent Bress is the director of the Aeronautics and Cross Agency Support Division in the Office of International and Interagency Relations (OIIR) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

Kent Bress

Kent Bress, 13 February 2017 (A. Kotok)

In his current position he oversees NASA’s collaboration with Europe and Canada, and supervises the negotiation of international agreements in the areas of aeronautics, space technology, education and public outreach.  From 1997 until 1999 he was NASA’s representative in Moscow, Russia.

The Office of Space and Advanced Technology (OES/SAT) ensures that U.S. space policies and multilateral science activities support U.S. foreign policy objectives and enhance space and technological competitiveness.  The United States, its allies and its adversaries around the world have established the goal of peaceful uses of outer space, and cooperate intensively to build and maintain the International Space Station.

Ken Hodgkins

Ken Hodgkins, 13 February 2017 (A. Kotok)

The Outer Space Treaty, signed by 105 countries, establishes the mechanics for this cooperation.   Ken Hodgkins is the Director for the Office of Space and Advanced Technology in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science.  Mr. Hodgkins serves as the U.S. representative to COPUOS. He has been the State representative for major Presidential policy reviews on remote sensing, the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, orbital debris, and the use of space nuclear power sources.

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.”   As a non-profit foundation, the Foundation amplifies these efforts through research, outreach and support of educational and cultural programs throughout the U.S.

Bill Parker

Bill Parker, 13 February 2017 (A. Kotok)

Bill Parker, a retired FSO after 31 years, with multiple postings for USIA and State, is a Special Advisor for International Affairs to the Space Foundation.  He has trained Foreign Affairs Officers at FSI and the National Security Space Institute at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Parker tells about his work with the Space Foundation in a recent essay on PublicDiplomacy.org.

The PDAA program took place place Monday, February 13, 2017 at the DACOR-Bacon House, 1801 F St NW, Washington, DC.

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