2023 Space Sustainability Research Fellows

Friday, August 18, 2023

SWF is pleased to announce the 2023 cohort of Space Sustainability Research Fellowships, Benjamin Silverstein and Olga Volynskaya. The research fellows will investigate fundamental questions and clarify fundamental concepts in space sustainability, including on the verification aspects of ASAT prohibitions, and the use of unilateral commitments and/or non-binding multilateral instruments in the formation of customary international law.

Benjamin Silverstein is a research analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he works on space policy issues related to international cooperation and competition. His prior roles in the US national laboratory system and at the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) focused on space security. Ben completed his undergraduate work at George Washington University and earned a masters from Syracuse University, focusing on international relations for both degrees.

Ben’s research will focus on what types of behaviors and threats can space situational awareness (SSA) verify, what types of verification are possible in the context of ASAT prohibitions, and related matters. 

Prof. Dr. Olga Volynskaya is a visiting Professor at the College of Law of Prince Sultan University (PSU), Saudi Arabia. Prior to joining PSU, Olga was Chief International Law Advisor of the Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos), Second Secretary of the Legal Department of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Associate Professor at the Space Research Department of Lomonosov Moscow State University. Olga has a specialist degree in international law from the Russian Foreign Trade Academy (VAVT), an LLM in European law from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, and a PhD in international space law from VAVT.

Olga’s research will focus on the nature and legal effect of non legally binding political commitments, the recent UNGA resolution on ASATs, national unilateral declarations to not test or conduct ASATs, and related issues.



Both Ben and Olga have already begun their research, and SWF anticipates bringing their findings—comprising their full Reports and Executive Summaries—to a wider audience this fall. 

Please contact SWF Space Law Advisor, Christopher Johnson for more information.

Last updated on December 1, 2023