|dc.description.abstract||The outer space (hereinafter Space) sector is currently going through major transformation. Since its inception, the sector is characterized by geopolitical interests and tensions. However, new Space-based technologies have shown how the sector can serve as supporter and enabler for accelerating sustainable development. Technological changes such as digitization and miniaturization have reduced the cost of accessing and using space, opening up new opportunities also for private actors. The sector is therefore increasingly competed among different actors with different interests. Given these challenges, the question is whether the current global Space sector can overcome these conflicting values and make a successful transition towards accelerating sustainable development. Therefore, the study aims to identify the emerging institutions of the global Space sector, including not only formal but also informal institutions such as the kind of values and interests actors adhere to and how they may influence the direction of the sectoral development.
Sustainability transition research has increasingly adopted international perspectives on how sectors may transform over time towards more sustainable direction. However, research on the political dimensions of changing sociotechnical configurations and the interaction at the international level remains limited. This study adopts the institutional logics approach as a medium to incorporate geopolitics in Space and governance literature in the analysis of transitions. More specifically, this study applied a socio-technical configuration analysis (STCA) based on discourses in newspaper articles and government documents, covering two contrasting cases of Earth Observation (EO) and Navigation services to identify different prevailing value orientations among actors.
The results indicate that value orientations between actors differ significantly, resulting in different international collaboration patterns. The Navigation case is characterized by rather incoherent value dispositions. Cooperation serves primarily as a tool to support geopolitical strategies, national self-interest, and the desire for a dominant competitive position in the global market. Due to the ongoing geopolitical tensions, the sector faces major challenges in achieving a strong directionality in engendering sustainable development in the future. In contrast, the value orientations of the various actors in the EO case are more aligned on a global scale. Actors mainly entered cooperation to pursue common goals at the global level. The field, therefore, projects stronger directionality in maximizing its potentials to accelerate sustainable development, with the presence of similar collective priorities and substantial international cooperation. Overall, the contrasting results show that the future global Space sector will consist of different and partly diverging structures of institutions and cooperation patterns.||