Global Business Law Institute Institute for Space Law, Data and Policy

About the Institute

The Institute for Space Law, Data and Policy (SLDP) operates under the auspices of the Global Business Law Institute (GBLI) at the UW School of Law. The inaugural director of SLDP is Saadia M. Pekkanen, the Job and Gertrud Tamaki Endowed Professor in International Studies and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Law. She works at the intersection of international relations and international law, specializing in the commercial, legal, and security policies shaping outer space affairs.

SLDP is the world’s first interdisciplinary institute focused at the nexus of outer space with law, data and policy in global affairs. This nexus animates our core interests in space traffic management, space domain awareness, maritime domain awareness and geospatial intelligence.

SLDP carries out education and training programs, aiming to serve the diverse practical needs of space-interested audiences across universities, businesses, nonprofits, think tanks, foundations, media, defense and foreign policy establishments and governments worldwide.

Our goal is to generate and disseminate cutting-edge knowledge to students, researchers, practitioners and other decision-makers interested in understanding the realities of space data, law and policy across all regions and strategic domains.

Our educational and training platforms are designed to promote a common understanding of the challenges to security, safety and prosperity in outer space affairs rooted in contemporary geopolitics.


Education & Training Programs

Our education and training programs are aimed at both UW students and non-UW audiences from corporate, government, defense, nonprofit and philanthropy sectors. We support both public and fee-based programs of varying lengths, some of which can be used to fulfill Continuing Legal Education. These academic and executive education programs are described below.

Technology and International Security Program (UW, in person)

SLDP supports a general Technology and International Security program aimed at UW students, researchers, lawyers and other professionals, under the auspices of the Qualitative Multi-Methods Program (QUAL).

A brief description of the program follows. More information can be found at the linked URL above.

With significant expertise in all regions of the world, the University of Washington is an ideal training ground to advance understanding of emerging threats and opportunities at the nexus of technology and international security. Working with QUAL and SLDP, our goal is to educate and train students, scientists, lawyers and researchers to engage with security issues in their historical, cultural and political contexts. The proposed focus prepares them to analyze and propose policy solutions for a wide range of topics of concern to scholars and practitioners.

Public Dialogues (online)

The core SLDP themes—space traffic management, space domain awareness, maritime domain awareness and geospatial intelligence—overlap with a wide variety of STEM and policy issues.  They intersect with other technology frontiers (cyber, nuclear, artificial intelligence, quantum, etc.), strategic domains (Arctic, Antarctic, maritime, etc.) and transforming policies in all governments across the world (USA, China, Russia, Japan, India, UK, UAE, etc.). These intersections are critical for all civilian, business and defense operations in and through space. But how, why and with what consequences?

We work with partners on campus to advance dialogues on these fronts for local, national and international audiences in partnership with the Space Policy and Research Center (SPARC). Please join us for these events by registering with SPARC and also visit the official SPARC website that provides public access to their recordings through the UW Space Dialogues Video Library.

General and Customized Webinars (in-person or online, fee-based)

We provide short and extended webinars on each of our core themes – space traffic management, space domain awareness, maritime domain awareness and geospatial intelligence.

The webinars include briefings by a panel of academics, space policy analysts, lawyers, as well as the principal space companies. To offer as complete and as up-to-date picture of events and trajectories as possible, we involve and draw on our pool of experts in and out of the United States. Each webinar, whether general or customized, is crafted around a specific and timely theme, includes discussion around a set of questions and allows for interactions with the audience.

Executive Courses (in-person or online, certificate, fee-based)

We explore the dynamics and implications of our core thematic field – space traffic management, space domain awareness, maritime domain awareness and geospatial intelligence – in contemporary geopolitics through a suite of executive courses.

Each executive course focuses on one of our core themes, is chaired and curated by the SLDP director and is typically spread over one or two days.  The course includes briefings and discussions on the main trajectories of the underlying topic, keynote addresses by space companies and/or policy professionals and works towards a table-top exercise. It concludes with a debriefing of the simulation by the course leaders. The objective is to educate the participant relatively quickly about the risks and challenges inherent in the underlying domains for their work and how these are amplified in contemporary geopolitics.

Our next executive course is scheduled for November 12. Further details are forthcoming.

Executive Summer Institute in Space Law, Data and Policy (in-person, certificate, fee-based)

The executive summer institute is directed towards leaders and professionals interested in deepening and integrating the state-of-the-art knowledge about each of the SLDP core themes and understanding what it means for their legal, business, defense and policy contexts.

Each member of the incoming class is randomly assigned to country cells from the start and operates with and for the interests of that group in mind. Day one focuses on fundamentals of space operations, orbital dynamics and the changing realities of remote sensing and geospatial intelligence. Day two focuses on the hazards of orbital debris, the risks it poses for human activities on and off our planet, the present legal and policy regimes in place and the challenges in building out space traffic management in the present geopolitical flux. Day three focuses on how the concepts of space domain awareness and maritime domain awareness affect peaceful prospects among geopolitical competitors on and off the planet. Day four introduces a table-top exercise, simulating a crisis that requires the country cells to respond and propose solutions to prevent an outbreak. Day five discusses outcomes and provides feedback and lessons learned.

Days six and seven are flexible add-ons for those professionals in law, policy, defense, media and business who seek foundational qualitative data skills training. Using the same substantive documents from the space executive course, the participants are trained in a qualitative data analysis software package (ATLAS.ti) for analyzing, coding and presenting solutions to the same simulation exercise in the form of a short case study.

Details on our next executive summer institute are forthcoming.