Centre interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux stratégiques (CIENS)

Year 2023-2024 > Semester 2

Outer Space and Strategic Competition

Year 2023-2024 / Second Semester

Teachers : Lise Dubois and Guillaume Schlumberger

Contact: ciens@ens.psl.eu

Room: Salle Lettres 1, 45 rue d’Ulm, 2nd floor, Pôle Ressources Lettres (yellow corridor)

Schedule and dates

Thursday 6-8pm

March 28, April 4, April 25, May 2, Tuesday May 7 (as May 09 is Ascension Day), May 16.

ATTENTION: date of first class changed :


Validation : 3 ECTS

The aim of this seminar is to introduce students to the strategic stakes of space. The space race, which originated in the Cold War, is now unfolding in a multipolar world, involving a growing number of state actors, as well as private players, as witnessed by the war in Ukraine. Russia’s anti-satellite launch in November 2021, and North Korea’s successful launch of a spy satellite in November 2023, are all signs of the increased militarization of space, which cannot be seen solely as a reflection of terrestrial conflicts. The aim of this course is to understand the specific mechanisms and stakes of these renewed political, military and economic competitions, their origins, the management of escalation risks and the role of Europe in this context.


Space, a special environment

The New Space revolution

Europe in space, from its origins to the end of the Cold War: civil and military issues

European strategic autonomy in space

Towards a strategic grammar of space

Concluding session: And tomorrow?

Final essay

Students will write an essay of no more than 3,000 words on one of the themes covered in the six sessions.

General bibliography

European Space Policy Institute (ed.), Yearbook 2022. Space Policies, Issues and Trends, Vienna, 2023

Jeremy Grunert, The United States Space Force and the future of American space policy: legal and policy implications, Leiden ; Boston, Brill Nijhoff, 2022

John J. Klein, Space Warfare. Strategy, principles and policy, New York, Routledge, 2006

James Clay Moltz, The Politics of Space Security. Strategic Restraint and the Pursuit of National Interests, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2019

Max M. Mutschler, Arms Control in Space. Exploring Conditions for Preventive Arms Control, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

Laurence Nardon, “L’arsenalisation de l’Espace : projets américains, réactions européennes”, Note de l’Ifri, Institut français de relations internationales, 2007

Xavier Pasco, Le nouvel âge spatial : de la Guerre Froide au New Space, CNRS éditions, Paris, 2017

Xavier Pasco, “L’espace, domaine de confrontation stratégique”, Revue de Défense nationale, vol. 835, n° 10, 2020, p. 59-63.

Xavier Pasco and Paul Wohrer, “La mise en œuvre de la Stratégie spatiale de défense française : vers la maîtrise de l’espace ?”, Note de la Fondation pour la Recherche stratégique n°12, 2023.

Guilhem Penent, “L’espace, un enjeu pour les émergents. What is a space power in the 21st century?”, Thierry de Montbrial (ed.), Ramses 2015. Le défi des émergents, Institut français des relations internationales, 2014, p. 168-173.

Guilhem Penent and Louis Tillier, “L’initiative Opérations spatiales interalliées (Combined Space Operations – CSpO)”, Revue Défense Nationale, vol. 835, no. 10, 2020, pp. 74-76.

Guihlem Penent and Guillaume Schlumberger, “Guerre en Ukraine: révélatrice de ruptures dans le secteur spatial?”, IFRI Notes, 2023.

Isabelle Sourbès-Verger, Géopolitique du monde spatial : 40 fiches illustrées pour comprendre l’occupation de l’espace extra-atmosphérique, Paris, Éditions Eyrolles, 2023

Jean-Daniel Testé, “The future of military space”, Stratégique, n° 115, 2017, p. 147-150

Xavier Tourneux, “Conflictualité dans l’Espace : enjeux et perspectives pour la France”, Cahiers de la revue Défense nationale, 2018, p. 67-82

Fabio Tronchetti (ed.), Fundamentals of Space Law and Policy, Berlin, Springer, 2013

Paul Wohrer, “La nouvelle dynamique des programmes habités américains”, Foundation for Strategic Research, Research & Documents, n°11, 2021

Jonathan Whitney et al, “A Plan for a US Space Force: The What, Why, How and When”, Air and Space Power Journal, n°33, pp. 83-95, 2019

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