The D Group has partnered with The Policy Institute at King's College London to produce a comprehensive review of the UK's soft power capabilities in space, and the contingent obstacles and opportunities.
With last year's Integrated Review (IR) and National Space Strategy (NSS), alongside the broader concept of 'Global Britain', there has seldom been a more formative, dynamic and exciting time for the UK's space sector and wider capability, with a growing recognition that space is not merely a lucrative industry that is militarily important, but that it is also an increasingly useful instrument of statecraft and geoeconomic influence.
Lead authors Dr Mark Hilborne of the Space Security Research Group and Dr Mark Presley of MAP Analytica conducted a range of interviews with influential and knowledgeable stakeholders across the UK space community to inform the project. The paper first aims to explore the notion of soft power, narrow down a working definition and demonstrate the challenges in measuring its effects. The report then examines the landscape of UK soft power as it relates to space and specifically the goals and ambition of the NSS, culminating in an attempt to highlight where the UK has the greatest soft power leverage, what obstacles remain in terms of delivering soft power in space and where the potential opportunities exist to best amplify the UK voice.
The report concludes that the UK is well positioned to harness its space soft power, which is itself a sphere of potential global leadership. However, if we are to fulfil the IR's claim that Britain is a ‘soft power superpower’, it is important that we do not embed existing barriers or construct new ones that might limit our potential.