16.891J | Spring 2003 | Graduate
Space Policy Seminar


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 sessions / week, 2 hours / session

Course Objectives

  • Understand the importance of space policy.
  • Understand the stakeholders in the space enterprise.
  • Understand the history of the space enterprise.
  • Understand the body of law that governs what we do in space.
  • Gain a feel for current space policy issues.

Reading List

There are two required texts for the course:

McDougall, Walter A. The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age. New York: Basic Books, 1985.

Launius, Roger D., and Howard E. McCurdy. Spaceflight and the Myth of Presidential Leadership. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997.

Other required readings will be photocopied and handed out from time to time from:

Stone, Deborah A. Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making. New York : W.W. Norton, 1997.

Spires, David N. Beyond Horizons: A Half Century of Air Force Space Leadership. US Government Printing Office, 1997.

Albert D. Wheelon. “Space policy: How Technology, Economics and Public Policy Intersect” Working paper, MIT Program in Science, Technology and Society, 1988.

Reynolds, Glenn H., and Robert P. Merges. Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy. Boulder: Westview Press, 1989.

Assignment Types

There are three kinds of assignments for the seminar:

  • Reading. Most weeks there will be extensive reading assigned. Please come to class prepared to discuss the readings for the week.
  • 1-pg Memos. A 1-page memo on a relevant topic will be due almost each week. These 1-page memos are meant to be no more than 1 page, and are typical of what a high-level decision maker would expect when they ask you for background information or your recommendation.
  • Group Term Project. Includes researching the issue, writing a paper/model, making a presentation to the class, and preparing reading materials for the class in preparation for the presentation. The group project will be a study of the technological, architectural and policy options associated with developing a new reusable launch vehicle.

Information on each of these is available throughout the rest of this course.

Grading Breakdown

Activities Percentages
Decision Memos 50%
Term Project 40%
Class Participation 10%