In order to answer this question, we will introduce the aims of our foundation bearing in mind that space related topics are neglected in Serbia in spite of their relevancy for economic development, security and quality of everyday life.
In Serbia, space governance, space technology, space law and their significance tend to be linked to science fiction or perceived as an expensive and, more importantly, exclusive realm only a select few superpowers can take part in. Fortunately, the space club is not as exclusive nor as unreachable as one would think. Among else, Austria, Luxembourg, Belgium, Lebanon, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Ghana, Kenya and regional states like Slovenia, Romania, Hungary and Greece have expressed their interest in devising a national space policy program and joined relevant UN bodies (Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, COPUOS). Serbia is not a spacefaring nation, it does not have a space programme nor does it participate in space activities. However, it does not have to start from the beginning since Yugoslavia signed in the late sixties four of the five existing space treaties. This means that Serbia has firm ground to develop its space strategy and join international institutions, especially those for which it already fulfills initial requirements for membership.
Serbian Case for Space Foundation (SCS) was established with a threefold aim:
- contributing to the development of space strategy by providing comparative analyses of space policies and conducting research on the national industrial capacities;
- making decision-makers aware of the potential economic benefits deriving from space activities and systems. It is worth noting that global revenue from space-related activities in 2016 was 329 billion dollars and it has been thriving at a compound annual growth rate of 9.52 per cent in the past twenty years;
- inspiring and engaging private sector in the space domain.
SCS and decision-makers
Participation in international organizations that deal with space activities would give Serbia access to a new pool of funds, the possibility to take part in innovative projects and to utilize state of the art technology. Despite the fact that Serbia is a small, developing country, it can immediately begin to harvest these benefits, as the Article 1 of the Outer Space Treaty indicates: “The exploration and use of outer space […] shall be carried out for the benefit and in the interests of all countries, irrespective of their degree of economic or scientific development, and shall be the province of all mankind”.
SCS and private sector
Most people have some idea about the usage of satellite technology in navigation, communications and Earth observation. However, space exploration and satellite applications go beyond what a layman can cite, and pervade many fields crucial for the safety and quality of human lives, such as transportation, medicine, agriculture, environment and disaster management (e.g. telemedicine, pollution monitoring, drought and flood predictions). Scientific and technological innovations in the sphere of space have become a vehicle for economic and social growth as well as global interconnectedness. This has created opportunities for private sector to engage in space industry and benefit from commercial possibilities. SCS will strive to connect existing private companies, both locally and internationally, thereby helping them to expand their products and services to the space domain. In addition, SCS hopes that such cooperation would lead to the creation of national start-ups in this field as space systems will play an increasingly important role in modern societies.
For all these reasons, SCS will urge decision-makers, by providing credible legal arguments and strategic information, to now formally include Serbia in the global space community and open the forgotten doors and windows to the advantages that derive from outer space activities.