Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Dr. Jah Hosts Episode Seven of Moriba’s Vox Populi

Dr. Moriba Jah recently hosted the seventh episode of “Moriba’s Vox Populi”, a video series he hosts in partnership with SpaceWatch.Global. Dr. Jah is an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at UT Austin and the Director of the Strauss Center’s Space Security, Safety, and Sustainability Program. This episode focused on the role of cultural differences in space actor behavior and featured five speakers: Thierry Blanche, Stewart Bain, Professor Yuri Razoumny, Dr. Darren McKnight, and Dr. Doug Hendrix. Dr. Jah laid the groundwork for the conversation by noting that the proliferation of more space actors has increased the perception of threat among space actors. A threat, he noted, has three requisite components: opportunity, capability, and intent to cause harm. Cluing in on intent is therefore vital. To that end, Dr. Jah advocated for an assessment of the varying interpretations of international space law with an emphasis on the role of culture.

The panelists discussed a variety of topics, including the challenges of inter-cultural communication, the need for trust and clarity of terms, the role of storytelling in engaging the public in outer space dialogue, and more. Dr. Jah emphasized the importance of capacity building between different spacefaring countries, noting that uneven knowledge leads to uneven practices. He also highlighted some of his experiences at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab which indicate the impact of cultural differences in space operations. Dr. Jah concluded with an optimistic sentiment, noting that while we may not achieve unity in practices, we can continue conversations of this sort in order to achieve harmony. Listen to the full conversation here.