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.
RSS Feed
SWF Podcast







All Episodes
Now displaying: 2015
Nov 18, 2015

Recent multi-stakeholder discussions have highlighted the limited awareness on spectrum-related issues and their impacts within the broader Earth observations community, and the challenge of capturing the extent of reliance on potentially impacted programs and systems.

Sponsored by the Secure World Foundation, this morning panel event seeks to raise awareness of the risks facing the frequency bands used for meteorological purposes within the international GEO community, discuss opportunities for improved routine engagement between the relevant stakeholders, particularly at the regional level, and examine ways to communicate the impact of spectrum management decisions on the delivery of critical information services to policymakers. 

For further information and speaker bios, please see the event page on the SWF website.

Moderator: SWF Executive Director Dr. Michael Simpson


  • Dr. Halilu Ahmad Shaba, Director, Strategy Space Applications, National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA)
  • Mr. David Hartshorn, Secretary General, Global VSAT Forum
  • Ms. Renee Leduc Clarke, Founder and Principal, Narayan Strategy
  • Mr. David Lubar, Radio Spectrum Management specialist in the GOES-R Program Office, Vaeros division of The Aerospace Corporation
Sep 23, 2015

Recorded September 22, 2015

Like many other sectors of space activities that were once "government only," the notion of privately owned and operated space stations is no longer science fiction. Within the next decade, it is likely we will have a scenario where there are multiple commercial and government space stations on orbit, with a mix of multiple government and private customers and a mix of government and commercial transportation services going back and forth. Such a scenario holds both incredible opportunity and a number of significant challenges to resolve.

This panel discussion brought together experts from civil society, industry, and the U.S. government to discuss what this future may look like, and what economic, policy, and regulatory challenges need to be overcome along the way. 

For further information and a copy of the presentations, please see the event page on the SWF website.

Moderator: Mr. Ian Christensen, Project Manager, Secure World Foundation


  • Mr. Charles Miller, President, NextGen Space, LLC
  • Mr. Mike Gold, Director, DC Operations and Business Growth, Bigelow Aerospace
  • Ms. Carissa Christensen, Managing Partner, The Tauri Group
  • Mr. Steph Earle, Office of Commercial Spaceflight, Federal Aviation Administration 
Mar 31, 2015

This event was recorded on March 27, 2015.

On Friday, March 27, 2015, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) hosted a luncheon panel discussion from 12:00pm to 2:00pm EST on  “Challenges In Sharing Weather Satellite Spectrum With Terrestrial Networks” in Washington, DC.

In order to meet the growing demand for wireless broadband connectivity, the U.S. government is developing strategies to share radio frequency spectrum between federal and commercial users. Spectrum historically reserved for broadcasting meteorological satellite data to users from the current generation of polar-orbiting satellites was recently auctioned nationwide by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for over $2.4 billion. Federal regulators are now studying additional bands that may be shared in a future spectrum auction, including those currently used to download weather data from NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) and for the future GOES-R series.

If GOES downlink spectrum is selected for sharing, there is a possibility of radio frequency interference between the new terrestrial commercial broadcasts and the existing satellite broadcasts that may render the satellite-received data unusable or degraded. Such interference could have significant impacts on the GOES-Variable (GVAR), GOES-R GOES Rebroadcast (GRB), the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) -  which is used to support first responders around the country, High-Rate or Low-Rate Information Transmission (HRIT or LRIT), as well as relay of hydrometeorological data from the GOES Data Collection System (DCS), used for monitoring and warning of floods.

A panel of experts discussed these issues, including the motivation for the sharing, potential impacts to end users of any interference, and options for mitigating potential interference.


  • Mr. Jack Brown, Director, Arlington County Office of Emergency Management
  • Dr. Carol Anne Clayson, Senior Scientist in the Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)

  • Dr. Mike Johnson, Satellite Team Lead, Office of Science and Technology, National Weather Service, NOAA

  • Mr. David Lubar, Radio spectrum management specialist in the GOES-R Program Office, The Aerospace Corporation 

  • Mr. Robert Mason, Chief,  USGS Office of Surface Water, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Mr. Mark Mulholland, Chief Systems Engineer, Office of Systems Development (OSD), NOAA

  • Mr. Mike Steinberg, Senior Corporate Consultant, AccuWeather



Mar 24, 2015

Recorded March 23, 2015

Although some may consider the two to be at odds with each other, international law has a direct impact on military activities in both peacetime and during conflict. International law defines what constitutes an armed attack, the right to national self-defense, and the limits on use of force during an armed conflict consistent with the Geneva Conventions.

Over the last several decades, legal scholars and military practitioners have clarified the rules of international law applicable to military activities in several domains. This includes the Harvard Manual on International Law Applicable to Air and Missile Warfare, and most recently the Tallinn Manual on the International Law Applicable to Cyber Warfare. However, to date there has not been any significant attempts to clarify how international law applies to military activities in space. 

The panel discussion provided an overview of international law as it applies to military activities, and examples of how it has been clarified in certain domains, such as air and cyber, or for certain types of weapons, such as autonomous systems. It also examined the current status of international law as applied to military activities in the space domain, and potential benefits of further clarifying the existing norms and interpretations.


Wing Commander Duncan Blake, Royal Australian Air Force

Mr. Gary Brown, Head of Communications, Washington Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross

Dr. Cassandra Steer, Executive Director, Centre of Research in Air and Space Law, McGill University

Dr. Peter Hays, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University

Moderator: Mr. Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation


Jan 28, 2015

Recorded January 27, 2015

The Arctic region is changing rapidly, allowing for new opportunities to learn more about this remote area, use it to expand economic development, and build off it for national security and political benefits. However, there are challenges involved in ensuring that there is assured access to the Arctic, monitoring the physical changes it is undergoing, using the Arctic in a sustainable manner, and creating a stable environment for a region that could be the site of disputed land claims.  Space plays an important role in monitoring conditions in the Arctic and in enabling the management of resources there. Given that the United States will assume the chairmanship of the intergovernmental Arctic Council in April, this panel discussion examined the implications of changing Arctic conditions and how space can help improve understanding of and mitigate the disruption from those changes.

For more information, please visit the event page.


  • Dr. Claire Parkinson, Climate Change Senior Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  • CDR Ronald Piret, Arctic Affairs Officer, Task Force Climate Change (TFCC), U.S. Navy
  • Major Charity Weeden, Assistant Attaché Air & Space Operations, Canadian Defence Liaison Staff Washington
  • Dr. Amy Sun, Military Space Narrowband Advanced Programs Lead, Lockheed Martin
  • Mr. Michael J. Young, Arctic Affairs Officer, Office of Ocean and Polar Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Jan 6, 2015

Recorded December 9, 2014

Space situational awareness (SSA) - commonly defined as knowledge about the space environment and activities in space - is an important part of space sustainability, safety, and security. SSA has historically been mostly a military mission that focused on tracking the locations of objects in space and detecting space-based threats. However, the nature of SSA is evolving as the number of actors in space increases, including an increasing proportion of non-governmental players and space activities, and the nature of the threats to active satellites diversifies and expands to include natural and human-generated threats, as well as intentional and unintentional threats. 

Secure World Foundation (SWF) held a luncheon panel discussion to discuss the changing nature of SSA and examine initiatives being developed by both the U.S. government and non-governmental entities to enhance SSA. 

For more information, please visit the event page.

Panel 1 - Established Services, Providers, and Policies

Mr. Richard Buennneke, Senior Advisor for National Security Space Policy in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, U.S. Department of State

Mr. John Hill, Principal Director, Space Policy, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for  Policy, U.S. Department of Defense

Mr. Andrew D'Uva,  President, Providence Access Company

Panel 2 - Emerging Services, Providers, and Policies

Dr. Michael Romanowski, Director, Commercial Space Integration, Federal Aviation Administration

Mr. Paul Welsh, Vice President of Business Development, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI)

Mr. Matthew Bold, Chief Architect, Ground Based Space Situational Awareness (GBSSA), Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center

The discussion was be moderated  by Mr. Brian Weeden, SWF Technical Advisor.


Jan 6, 2015

Recorded June 16, 2014

Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) is the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact security, safety, economy, or environment. Space capabilities are an important element of MDA, including space-based radar imaging and surveillance, ocean temperature and sea ice monitoring, among others. A number of countries are developing space capabilities to support MDA, but there are still significant gaps in coordination and cooperation between these efforts, as well as integrating space-based information with other sources into a holistic MDA picture and getting it to those who need it on the ground in a usable manner. This panel session provided an overview of the importance of MDA and the various efforts to provide space-based capabilities to improve MDA. The session also offered a discussion on opportunities for enhancing international cooperation, both in space and on the ground, to improve MDA for all nations.

For more information, including speaker presentations, please see the event page.


Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, Deputy Director, South Asia Center, Atlantic Council 

Mr. Jon Huggins, Director of Ocean's Beyond Piracy, One Earth Future Foundation 

Dr. John Mittleman, Engineer, U.S. Naval Research Laboratory 

Prof. Guy Thomas, Co-Founder, C-SIGMA Centre 

Major Charity Weeden, Assistant Attaché Air and Space Operations, Royal Canadian Air Force 


Jan 6, 2015

Recorded December 9, 2013

Inspired by the recent box office hit and cinematic masterpiece, Gravity, Secure World Foundation (SWF) held a panel discussion and luncheon that discussed the various legal, policy, political, and strategic implications of the scenario depicted in director Alfonso Cuarón's celebrated film Gravity and if such an accident in space were to occur in real life. Could such an accident really happen today? What is the real life threat of space debris as compared to that portrayed in the film? Legal issues to be discussed will include what the current international legal regime brings to this scenario and the difficulty of defining space debris, as highlighted by the recently published Guide to Space Law Terms published by SWF and the George Washington University's Space Policy Institute. What would be the political and strategic consequences in the international community? A brief history on anti-satellite (ASAT) programs, as well as the Chinese space station Tiangong, both of which featured prominently in the film, will be covered during the event as well. Finally, what is being done to address such a threat today, especially at the international level?

For more information, including speaker presentations, please visit the event page.


Dr. Henry Hertzfeld, Research Professor of Space Policy and International Affairs, George Washington University, Space Policy Institute

Dr. Darren McKnight, Technical Director, Integrity Applications, Inc.

Mr. Kirk Shireman, Deputy Director, Johnson Space Center, NASA

Ms. Marcia Smith, Founder and Editor,

The discussion will be moderated by Ms. Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation.


Jan 6, 2015

Recorded November 4, 2013

On-orbit satellite servicing (OOS) and active debris removal (ADR) are part of an emerging category of future on-orbit activities that are critical for taking the next leap in our use of Earth orbit. The ability to repair or refuel satellites, construct new satellites in orbit, and even remove orbital debris can help drive innovative uses of space and create new possibilities. These activities also raise a host of security, legal, safety, operational, and policy challenges that need to be tackled for this future to be possible.

In 2012, DARPA held a public conference and workshop in Washington, DC, and in 2012 and 2013, SWF worked with partners to hold a series of conferences, workshops, and panel discussions to explore these various multidisciplinary challenges. The events took place in the United States, Belgium, and Singapore and included representation from a variety of international stakeholders. This panel discussion summarizes those events as well as provides "insider and outsider" perspectives on the non-technical challenges that need to be addressed for ADR and OOS to become reality.


Mr. David Barnhart, Project Manager, Tactical Technology Office, DARPA

Mr. Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation 

The discussion was moderated by Dr. Michael Simpson, Executive Director, Secure World Foundation.

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded July 24, 2013

Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the Tauri Group co-hosted an international space reception to bring together the international space policy makers and international space stakeholders within the Beltway. Speakers discussed the U.S. government's priorities for and interests in international space cooperation and outreach; a survey of international space professionals about prioritizing various aspects of space sustainability; and regional space dynamics, looking at national budgets, satellite capabilities, spaceflight, and science missions by region. 

For more information, including speaker presentations, please visit the event page.


Mr. Frank Rose, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, U.S. Department of State

Ms. Carissa Christensen, Founder and Managing Partner, The Tauri Group

Mr. Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation

Moderator: Ms. Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded July 15, 2013

Secure World Foundation and the Commons Lab of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars co-hosted a panel discussion to examine issues in sharing Earth observation satellite data, including general challenges for data sharing, problems with coordinating data, questions about how the U.S. government makes data policy sharing decisions and how they relate to the larger international context, and overall assessments about the importance of data-sharing and international cooperation.  This panel is intended to focus on unclassified data-sharing in a civil context.

For more information, including speaker presentations, visit the event page.


Dr. Mariel John Borowitz, Research Analyst, Space Foundation

Dr. Molly Macauley, Vice President of Research and Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future

Dr. Martha Maiden, Program Executive, NASA Earth Science Data Systems

Mr. Timothy Stryker, Chief of Policy, Plans and Analysis, Land Remote Sensing Program, U.S. Geological Survey

Moderator: Ms. Tiffany Chow, Project Manager, Secure World Foundation


Jan 6, 2015

Recorded on July 8, 2013

The Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Center for Science, Technology, and Security Policy (CSTSP) hosted a luncheon panel discussion event on Capitol Hill. Given interest sparked by the recent meteor explosion over central Russia, the event will focus on near-Earth objects (NEOs), providing informed and scientific background on the topic for policymakers, current threat status, and an update on international efforts aimed at addressing the NEO threat.

For more information, including speaker presentations, please visit the event page.


Dr. Irwin Shapiro, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Dr. Mark Boslough, Principal Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories

Mr. Lindley Johnson, NASA's Headquarters Program Executive for NASA's Near Earth Object Program

Moderator: Ms. Victoria Samson, SWF Washington Office Director

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded December 3, 2012

Secure World Foundation held a luncheon panel discussion on significant space policy challenges facing the second Obama Administration, including civil space funding and Congress, ITAR reform, improving space situational awareness, and improving the overall coordination of U.S. space activities.

For more information, please visit the event page.


Ms. Marcia Smith,

Ms. Patricia Cooper, Satellite Industry Association

Mr. Brian Weeden, Secure World Foundation

Dr. Eligar Sadeh, Astroconsulting International

Moderator: Dr. Scott Pace, George Washington University


Jan 6, 2015

Recorded October 25, 2012

The Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (ACDIS) co-hosted a panel discussion to discuss the current state of play in space, especially amongst Asian powers of Japan, India, and China. The event also examined how that play affects regional security issues, as well as international cooperative efforts to promote the long-term sustainable use of space.

For more information, please visit the event page.


Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana

Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese, Naval War College

Dr. Asif Siddiqi, Fordham University

Dr. Kazuto Sazuki, University of Hokkaido and Princeton University

Moderator - SWF DC Office Director Victoria Samson


Jan 6, 2015

Recorded August 21, 2012

Secure World Foundation and the Space Foundation co-hosted a Congressional briefing with leading defense and industry perspectives to discuss current international initiatives aimed at outer space security and sustainability. 

For more information, please visit the event page.


Brendan Curry, Vice President of Washington Operations, Space Foundation

Tiffany Chow, Program Manager, Secure World Foundation


Sam Black, Director of Policy, Satellite Industry Association (SIA)

Peter Marquez, Vice President of Strategy and Planning, Orbital, Former White House Space Policy Director

Jessica Powers, Director for Engagement, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Space Policy), U.S. Department of Defense

Frank Slazer, Vice President for Space Systems, Aerospace Industries Association (AIA)


Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded July 17, 2012

To celebrate the release of the Executive Summary of the 2012 Space Security Index, the Secure World Foundation partnered with the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC, to hold an important panel discsusion. The event featured four distinguished speakers who will discuss the most important events affecting space security in the past year and examine what might be coming up over the next year, and was be moderated by Ms. Victoria Samson, SWF DC Office Director.  

For more information, please see the event page.


Mr. Cesar Jaramillo - Project Ploughshares

Ms. Carissa Christensen - The Tauri Group

Mr. Michael Listner - Legal and Policy Consultant with Space Law and Policy Solutions

Ms. Audrey Schaffer - Office of the Secretary of Defense-Policy, Space

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded February 3, 2012

Man's activities in space have benefited life on Earth greatly, but they have left their mark: over 22,000 pieces of man-made space debris are being tracked as they orbit our globe. How does space debris affect our space activities, both now and in the future?  How do we monitor it?  What are the national policies and international norms that limit it? And what can be done about it?  "Trash in the Skies" explores these issues and more.

These and other questions were answered as the Secure World Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to the sustainable use of outer space over the long-term, hosts a lunch-time briefing on space debris. Speaking will be:

For more information, please visit the event page.


Dr. Darren McKnight, Technical Director for Integrity Applications, Inc. (IAI) based in Chantilly, Virginia, who recently served on the National Research Council's Committee on NASA's Orbital Debris and Micrometeoroid Program.

Mr. Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor to the Secure World Foundation, and  former active duty U.S. Air Force officer who worked at the U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) monitoring space debris.

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded on November 9, 2011

Over the last several years, China has made significant investments in developing and deploying space-based intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities to support military/national security requirements and enhance their regional power.  China is also developing doctrine and policy for the space domain, and integrating these new space capabilities into their anti-access/area denial strategy.  These developments represent an evolution in China's role in space, from an asymmetric actor to an established space power with significant investment and newfound vulnerabilities in space.  Please join the Secure World Foundation as we discuss how this shift may impact China's approach to space security and sustainability, the U.S.-China bilateral relationship, and possibilities for international cooperation on space security issues such as the European-proposed Code of Conduct.

For more information, pelase visit the event page.


Mr. Mark Stokes, Executive Director, Project 2049 Institute

Mr. Kevin Pollpeter, China Project Manager, Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis, Defense Group, Inc.

Dr. Owen Cote, Associate Director, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Mr. Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor, Secure World Foundation

Moderator: Ms. Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded on November 3, 2011

Because space is becoming more congested with more countries seeking its benefits, it is easy to overlook a primary space player which has been involved from the beginning of the space age: Russia. Still, Russia's efforts in space have shaped international discussions on space security and sustainability, and their plans for space will continue to affect other space actors. Additionally, Russia's space program is at an interesting point: while they presently are the only way that the United States can access the International Space Station, they are also seeking to match or even surpass the United States in overall space capabilities. Furthermore, Moscow is likely monitoring the efforts of other rising Asian space powers, though Russia and China have worked together in international discussions on space security issues. Please join the Secure World Foundation as we host "Russia's Space Plans," a panel discussion that examines Russia's space history, the current status of its space program and efforts in international fora to enhance space security, and possible future paths it may take.


Ms. Marcia Smith, Founder,

Mr. Anatoly Zak, Journalist and Founder,

Ms. Tiffany Chow, Project Manager, Secure World Foundation


Moderator: Ms. Victoria Samson, Secure World Foundation

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded August 11, 2011

"Analyzing the Development Paths of Emerging Space Nations: Opportunities or Challenges for Space Sustainability?" examines the selected nations' space policy development and interest (or lack thereof) in international cooperation, assessing how best the United States and the international community can reach out to these emerging space actors in the advancement of space sustainability.The authors also look at the European Union's draft Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities to assess how the countries examined in this research view this proposed mechanism for space sustainability. Finally, the authors discuss the role that the United States has played to date in these regions and suggest ways in which the United States might enhance its efforts in the future.

For more information, please see the event page.


Megan Ansdell, Booz Allen & Hamilton

Laura Delgado Lopez, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies

Daniel Hendrickson, Aerospace Industries Association

The views and opinions expressed by the panel are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of their employers.

Jan 6, 2015

Recorded on July 28, 2011

"Asian Space Policy and the United States" featured a panel discussing the Beijing workshop, the direction of Asia space, and the role the United States' policy community can play in shaping that direction.  This panel focused primarily on the People's Republic of China. Following the panel discussion, there was an open Q&A session.

For more information, please visit the event page.


Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, East Asia Non-Proliferation Program, Monterey Institute

Ms. Alanna Krolikowski, University of Toronto

Mr. Ben Baseley-Walker, Advisor on Security Policy and International Law, Secure World Foundation

Moderator: Ms. Victoria Samson, Washington Office Director, Secure World Foundation