The concept of sustainability and its sophistication in sustainable development has become one of the EU’s core policy fields with institutional meaning. European Space policy is acquiring more and more importance in EU politics. A connection between both policy fields seems far-fetched, at first glance. However, there are already some obvious examples such as earth observation for environmental protection or disaster relief. This article will go further. It will look at issues of the protection of the earth orbit from the more and more serious issue of space debris and it will look at the European Space Agency’s policy towards sustainable development. Evident issues of environmental pollution resulting from space technologies, such as launchers, will be discussed asking the question of whether space technologies can continue to benefit from exceptional treatment which was conceived for a small sector mainly for scientific purposes. Today, there is a sizable space industry in Europe and the commercialisation of its services poses this question of whether the space industry is becoming a ‘normal’ part of European industry and therefore should adhere to normal standards of environmental protection. The article will also consider implications for the progress of the European integration process through the lens of European space policy.
European integration, Sustainable development, European Space Policy, Integration dynamics, Space debris
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