Strauss Center News

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


Jah Publishes the Inaugural Op-ed of Jahniverse

Jul 16, 2020 |

Dr. Moriba Jah, Strauss Center Distinguished Scholar, Program Lead of the Space Security and Safety (SSS) program at the Strauss Center, Director of the Advanced Sciences and Technology Research in Astronautics (ASTRIA) program, and Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, has published the inaugural article of his new op-ed column with Aerospace AmericaJAHNIVERSE. His first article, “Acta Non Verba: That should be the motto for NASA’s Artemis Accords,” Jah discusses both the benefits and inherent weaknesses of NASA’s recent Artemis Accords, which outline how states ought to behave regarding space exploration. While acknowledging their utility, Jah argues that these accords will suffer from a shortcoming which is characteristic of space treaties and guidelines: the lack of monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. Jah then highlights some of the many examples of space accords which, despite their lofty aims, have fallen short due to this shortcoming, including the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 and the Long-term Sustainability Guidelines of the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. In both instances, the terms of the framework have yet to be fully realized by all actors, in part due to a paucity of a comprehensive system of “accurate, actionable and timely information about new anthropogenic space objects and the orbital population of them.” Jah discusses this problem further, noting that nation’s tend to keep monitoring data to themselves to avoid disclosing national security capabilities. He argues this behavior is dangerous and impractical for all spacefaring nations, and suggests a couple of policy options to address this issue. He concludes be re-emphasizing the need for monitoring and assessment, accountability, and global cooperation. Read the full op-ed here.