Duke Space Diplomacy Lab at One Annual Media Roundtable Perspectives on 2023 Space Priorities with Leonard David (Inside Outer Space) and Joey Roulette (Reuters)

February 2, 2023 - 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm
Leonard David (Inside Outer Space) and Joey Roulette (Reuters)
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The Duke University Space Diplomacy Lab (SDL) was founded as a part of the Duke "Rethinking Diplomacy" Program in January 2022.  The central objective of the SDL has been to provide a vehicle to advance thought leadership on the burgeoning field of space diplomacy through a multidisciplinary focus, working across its inaugural year at the intersection of emerging space trends and technology, foreign policy and national security, and diplomatic engagement strategies to advance policies and practices supporting a safe and sustainable future in outer space.

During the SDL's "first orbit around the Sun," the lab has considered diplomatic strategies to avoid conflict reaching orbit, whether it be through the emergence of commercial space assets as key tools to both understand trends and support communications and humanitarian efforts to support Ukraine's struggle to restore its sovereignty and territorial integrity, or longer-term geopolitical trends associated with the possibility of future great power competition throughout the cislunar environment. The lab has also taken a detailed look at diplomatic engagement pathways to advance regulatory statutes and norms for the reduction of dangers associated with the proliferation of space debris in low-Earth orbit and beyond, including inputs from participants in a Space Diplomacy Hackathon that the lab hosted in partnership with the National Science Policy Network (NSPN). The SDL has also hosted multiple discussions on the vital role that satellite platforms have in delivering and coordinating humanitarian aid around the globe, while taking a lessons-learned approach to diplomatic and normative trends that can be applied in space from other terrestrial domains, including the field of ocean diplomacy.

For its one-year anniversary event, the Duke Space Diplomacy Lab will host its annual media roundtable on perspectives of space priorities that are likely to emerge over the course of 2023.  The discussion will ask another set of space media members to discuss what they believe to be some of the most pressing space issues that the globe will face over the next year, both headline-grabbing launches, technologies, and innovations, as well as emerging trends that could have impacts for years to come.  For this year's edition, the Space Diplomacy Lab is excited to welcome Leonard David (Inside Outer Space) and Joey Roulette (ThomsonReuters), who will offer their perspectives on space trends in 2023, moderated by SDL co-founders Dr. Benjamin L. Schmitt (University of Pennsylvania) and Dr. Giovanni Zanalda (Duke University) and in conversation with SDL members Dr. Lyndsey Gray (AAAS Science, Technology, and Policy Fellow), Prof. Britt Lundgren (UNC Asheville), and Ambassador W. Robert Pearson (Duke Rethinking Diplomacy Fellow).

The Rethinking Diplomacy Program is supported by a grant from the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund. 

About the Speakers:

Leonard David is a space journalist, reporting on space activities for over 50 years. His most recent books were written for National Geographic, Moon Rush: The New Space Race (May 2019) and Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet (October 2016). The late book is the companion volume to MARS – a National Geographic Channel television series from executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. Leonard is co-author with Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin of Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration (National Geographic, 2013).

Currently, Leonard is SPACE.com’s Space Insider Columnist. His articles have also been published in Scientific American, SpaceNews magazine, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Aerospace America Magazine, Smithsonian’s Air & Space Magazine, Sky and Telescope, Astronomy, Financial Times, Foreign Policy, as well as in supplemental writing for Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine.

He has been a consultant to NASA, other government agencies, the aerospace industry, and served as Director of Research for the National Commission on Space, a U.S. Congress/White House study that appraised the next 50 to 100 years of space exploration. Mr. David has served as editor-in-chief of the National Space Society`s Ad Astra and Space World magazines, and Final Frontier.

Leonard was the first recipient of the American Astronautical Society’s (AAS) “Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History” in the category of Journalism (2015).

Mr. David created his own website in 2014 dedicated to reporting on a variety of space topics: http://www.leonarddavid.com

Joey Roulette is a freelance reporter based in Washington, D.C. covering the commercial, civil and military sides of space for Reuters. Previously based in Orlando, Florida, Joey covered state politics and dozens of rocket launches from Cape Canaveral while finishing his Bachelor's degree in International Relations at the University of Central Florida. If given the opportunity, he would totally go to space to work on a story (as long as travel is comped).

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  • Rethinking Diplomacy