A new era of human space activity is unfolding every day before our eyes. An increasing number of nation-states and private sector actors are now capable of deploying a wide array of space technologies to low Earth orbit and beyond. The immense economic, scientific, and societal potential of today's space renaissance has unlocked fresh opportunities for unprecedented innovation and international strategic cooperation beyond Earth’s atmosphere. But just like the turbulent nature of international affairs here on Earth, the very human proclivity to take actions endangering the promise of these giant leaps off our planet requires some form of anticipatory diplomacy. Without urgent risk mitigation to address a growing list of space security and regulatory challenges facing the global community, humanity’s burgeoning off-planet future could be grounded before it truly blasts off.
To help address these emerging challenges, the Duke University Center for International and Global Studies (DUCIGS)/Rethinking Diplomacy Program (RDP) has established the Space Diplomacy Lab (SDL) to provide a forum to develop cross-cutting policy proposals and solutions to mitigate risks and ensure the promise of a secure and sustainable future of humanity in space.