Insurance and Responsible Behavior in Space

When: Monday, January 22, 2018

Time: 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Where: 1211 Connecticut Ave, NW, Eighth Floor, Washington, DC 20036

Space capabilities and services underpin much of modern societies and economies. The space sector is also undergoing a period of rapid growth in commercial and international actors and activities, which will lead to more innovation and benefits, but could also create sustainability challenges. Currently, there is a lack of clarity regarding liability standards - or even how to demonstrate and encourage responsible behavior – for space activities. The unpredictability of fault determinations and the confusion surrounding applicable legal regimes has fostered a perception of legal uncertainty. While many governments, international organizations, and private groups are working to develop guidelines for what constitutes responsible behavior in space, there is limited leverage to enforce such recommendations, or even to agree on universally applied definitions and standards. In other domains, such as nuclear power, the insurance industry has played a key role in helping establish standards for liability and negligence, and incentivizing responsible behavior.

This invite-only luncheon workshop, co-organized by the Stimson Center and the Secure World Foundation, was a discussion on whether the insurance industry could encourage responsible behavior in space operations. The discussions examined current trends in the space and insurance sectors, examples and lessons from the role of insurance and commercial practice in similar domains, and what may be necessary for insurance to play a larger role in incentivizing behavior in the space domain. We also hoped to understand whether the benefits of such incentivizing could include clarity on universal definitions and liability standards for outer space operators, and ultimately lead to a more predictable, sustainable, and even insurable space environment.

For more information, please contact SWF Director of Program Planning Dr. Brian Weeden at

Event Materials

Last updated on April 3, 2018