SWF Podcast

This podcast features content produced by the Secure World Foundation (SWF), a private operating foundation that promotes cooperative solutions for space sustainability and the peaceful uses of outer space. The Foundation acts as a research body, convener and facilitator to promote key space security, and other related topics, and to examine their influence on governance and international development.
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Now displaying: 2019
Oct 1, 2019

Many earth scientists unknowingly use special allocations of spectrum that are reserved for the collection and transmission of hydrometeorological data, particularly involving weather satellites. These allocations, for example, provide rebroadcasts of geostationary weather satellite imagery, transmit National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data to academic and industry partners, and enable passive microwave sensing of weather systems over the ocean. Data received through these allocations are paramount to achieving the best possible timeliness and quality of weather forecasts and warnings. Satellite observations of Earth’s atmosphere are a major contributor to weather and climate research, and improve the predictions from numerical weather prediction models.

However, the spectrum allocations for meteorological observations and earth exploration is potentially becoming threatened from proposals to deploy 5G and other advanced networks in adjacent bands, introducing risk and uncertainty for longstanding remote sensing applications. Because scientists and other users of weather data do not typically follow the complex and technical government spectrum proceedings, there is limited advocacy from those who could be impacted most and could best convey the true value of certain spectrum allocations for science.

In order to illustrate the wide range of potential impacts to weather satellite observations and timely earth science data transmissions, this panel, at the 2019 Joint Satellite Conference, discussed various spectrum proposals and how they might impact earth science research and users of earth-observing satellite imagery and products. The panel will also explain the regulatory environment and challenges to a brokered discussion on the relative merits of competing needs for spectrum allocations. It was an opportunity to share information with an international audience of satellite experts across government, academic and private sector audiences. The timing occurred shortly after the close in public comments to the FCC on the NPRM related to GOES real time data access (1675-1680 MHz) and just prior to the start of the World Radio Conference where discussions will include the rules around the global deployment of 5G technologies, including spectrum resources closely adjoining passive remote sensing observations for numerical weather prediction (especially near 23.8 GHz).


  • Jordan Gerth,  Physical Scientist, National Weather Service Office of Observations
  • Ryan Terry, Director, Regulatory Licensing and Policy, Lockheed Martin Corporation
  • Elliot Eichen, 2018-2019 IEEE-USA Congressional Fellow, and former Director of R&D, Verizon Communications
  • Dave Lubar, Senior Project Leader, Civil Spectrum Management, Civil Systems Group, The Aerospace Corporation

Session Co-chairs:

  • Renee Leduc, Founder & Principal, Narayan Strategy
  • Krystal Wilson, Director of Space Applications Programs, Secure World Foundation

More details, can be found at the event page on the SWF website.

Oct 1, 2019

Recorded in Washington, DC on September 26, 2019.

Since 2016, Secure World Foundation (SWF) has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to host multiple Space Weather as a Global Challenge events to facilitate discussions on the impacts of space weather across the globe, and plans to collaborate in observation, modeling, prediction, and mitigation of harmful effects. This year’s Space Weather as a Global Challenge will be held in coordination with the Next Step Benchmarks Town Hall, an event that supports the U.S. National Space Weather Strategy and Action Plan, on September 26, 2019. 

The Next Step Benchmarks is an effort funded by NSF and NASA, and led by the IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute (STPI), that has gathered 32 of the world’s leading space weather scientists to develop recommendations for improving the characterization of extreme space weather events. Initial characterizations of 1-in-100-year and theoretical maximum events for five space weather phenomena were described in the Space Weather Phase 1 Benchmarks report, released by the White House’s National Science and Technology Council in 2018. The Next Step Benchmarks team is developing a public report that will provide recommendations to improve the estimates found in the Phase 1 report. The Town Hall will be an opportunity for the space weather community to provide feedback on proposed recommendations and priorities for studies, data acquisition, and long-term research that would improve the characterization of extreme space weather events.

Following the Town Hall, SWF and the U.S. Department of State hosted an evening panel discussion and networking reception to share the general outcomes of the Town Hall and other U.S. and international space weather initiatives.


  • Jean-Luc Bald, First Secretary, Space Global Issues & Innovation Section, Delegation of the European Union to the United States of America 
  • Mark Harvey, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Resilience Policy, National Security Council Staff
  • Jeff O'Neil, Legislative Director, Office of Congressman Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
  • Geoffrey Reeves, Research Fellow, Los Alamos National Lab
  • Moderator: Josh Wolny, Project Manager, Secure World Foundation

More details, including transcripts, can be found at the event page on the SWF website.

Jul 17, 2019

The growth in space activities has shifted space traffic management from an academic debate to real-world policy debate, yet there is still significant uncertainty about what it means and how to go about creating a workable regime. Should space traffic management be top-down with a global agreement on rules and standards? Or should it be done from the bottom-up with industry practices enshrined in national regulation? Who decides what the rules are, who they apply to, and how they are enforced? | Moderator: Chris Johnson, SWF Space Law Advisor


Jul 16, 2019

Over the last several years, there has been a growing focus on two different conversations: one about the commercial and economic development of space, and another about the risk of conflict on Earth extending into space. Yet there is often very little dialogue on how these two issues interact and what impact each may have on the other. How might greater geopolitical instability or actual war in space impact commercialization? Can the private sector play a role in deterring space conflict or providing more resilient capabilities? | Moderator: Brian Weeden, SWF Director of Program Planning


This audio was recorded June 25th at the National Press Club in Washington, DC as part of the Secure World Foundation's Summit for Space Sustainability.

Jul 12, 2019

Closing Keynote Delivered by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine June 25, 2019 at the Summit for Space Sustainability. 

Jul 12, 2019

The last decade has seen a surge in new actors entering the space domain. Many more countries are developing space programs and national law and policy while commercial startups are leveraging cheaper and better technology to do more with less. What are the benefits of the surge in new actors and what should we be wary of? What steps can the world take to ensure that new actors are contributing to space sustainability? | Moderator: Ian Christensen, SWF Director of Private Sector Programs


This panel took place June 25, 2019 at the Summit for Space Sustainability in Washington, DC. 

Jul 11, 2019

Delivered in on June 25 at the SWF Summit for Space Sustainability in Washington, DC. 

Jul 11, 2019

This audio was recorded on June 25 during the SWF Summit for Space Sustainability at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.


Krystal Wilson, SWF Director of Space Applications Programs, Summit Chair

Peter Martinez, SWF Executive Director


A series of short presentations by high-level experts on current situations, trends, and challenges in the space domain that impact space sustainability.

May 15, 2019

Recorded in Washington, DC on May 6, 2019

On March 27, 2019, India successfully tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon against one of its satellites. With this intercept, India became the fourth country to demonstrate this capability. While most of the debris that was created should be relatively short-lived, some of it will be around for months, if not years.

What does this test mean for the future of space security and stability? Has a precedent been established about how to test an ASAT in a way that the international community will accept? How will this affect international security and great power relationships? Does this test and potentially others like this pose a risk to the burgeoning commercial space sector? A panel of experts gathered in Washington, D.C to discuss potential consequences and fall-out from India's ASAT test. 


Moderator: Brian Weeden, Director of Program Planning, Secure World Foundation


  • Bob Hall, Director, Commercial Space Operations Center, AGI
  • Ankit Panda, Adjunct Senior Fellow in Defense Posture Project, Federation of American Scientists
  • Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation

More details can be found at the event page on the SWF website.

Apr 12, 2019

This audio was recorded in Washington, DC on March 29, 2019.

On March 29, 2019, The Secure World Foundation hosted a panel discussion on "US-China Engagement in Space." A group of experts talked about how the United States and China interact in space and looked toward future possibilities for further engagement across commercial, civil, and national security issues. 


  • Moderator: Victoria Samson, SWF Washington Office Director
  • Patrick Besha, Senior Policy Advisor for Strategic Engagement and Assessment in the Office of the Administrator at NASA Headquarters
  • Mike Gold, Chair of the Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee
  • Lincoln Hines, PhD candidate in the Government Department at Cornell University,Cornell University
  • Audrey Schaffer, Director, Space Strategy and Plans, Office of the Secretary of Defense
  • Brian Weeden, SWF Director of Program Planning
Jan 7, 2019

Recorded in Washington DC, on December 6, 2018.

The orbital space around the earth is increasingly utilized by many actors across the world. Satellites built and launched by governments that strictly served national security and scientific exploration purposes have given way to privately (and even amateur) built and commercially launched space objects. This growth in participation has increased the amount of stakeholders interested in preserving the orbital domain, but it has also increased the amount of satellites and human-generated debris on orbit. As governments, and their myriad agencies, seek to preserve access to the benefits of space, how can collaboration reduce redundancies and avoid the complications of differing definitions, priorities, and data standards?

SWF and ESA co-hosted a luncheon panel discussion on international collaboration concerning space safety. Speakers and panelists discussed the roles of governments and industry, technical hurdles, and other challenges.



  • Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General, European Space Agency
  • Patrick Besha, Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Administrator at NASA Headquarters


  • Jim Cooper, Senior Systems Engineer, Space Situational Awareness, Analytical Graphics, Inc.
  • Todd Harrison, Director, CSIS Aerospace Security Project and Defense Budget Analysis
  • Diane Howard, Professor of Commercial Space Operations/Spaceflight Ops, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Bill Murtagh, Program Coordinator, NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  • Charity Weeden, US Managing Representative, Astroscale
  • Moderator: Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation

More details can be found at the event page on the SWF website.