Launch of the Lexicon for Outer Space Security

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

The Lexicon for Space Security

The United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) and the Secure World Foundation are pleased to present “A Lexicon for Space Security,” edited by Almudena Azcárate Ortega & Victoria Samson, which can be accessed below and on UNIDIR's website

One challenge to advancing space security is the absence of common understandings of frequently used terminology. To facilitate shared understandings of key topics and terms, the Lexicon aims to serve as an accessible global reference point for terminological issues related to space security. The Lexicon seeks to facilitate international discussions on space security-related matters by identifying different definitions and interpretations where relevant; it is hoped that this Lexicon will enhance transparency and reduce potential misunderstandings.

The Lexicon is an evolving project: the list of terms to be included in this first edition was developed by drawing from salient terms used in space security discourse at the multilateral level and through consultation with a geographically representative and linguistically diverse committee of 11 internationally recognized space and disarmament experts. However, the Lexicon does not intend to be exhaustive. New terminology will be added in the future as the space landscape evolves.

The terms featured in this first edition are divided into three main groups:

  1. Acronyms are commonly used in space security. The full names and different interpretations of several of these terms are further expanded on in sections 2 and 3.
  2. Common definitions of frequently used concepts and acronyms in space security to facilitate a broad understanding of what can sometimes be a technical topic.
  3. A selection of terminology frequently used by States in space policy discussions that could benefit from further clarification to achieve a common understanding.

Groups 2 and 3 have been subdivided into subcategories for increased clarity. All terms are ordered alphabetically within their own groups and subcategories. A cross-reference is included when a definition includes a term that is defined elsewhere in the Lexicon.

The Republic of Korea generously funded this first edition of the Lexicon for Space Security.

The Lexicon for Space Security is currently only available in English. Versions in all United Nations languages will be created, using the English version as a basis, and checked for consistency. Versions in other languages will not necessarily be exact translations of the present English version, as they will highlight critical linguistic differences relevant to each individual language.

Launch Event: 

On Wednesday, August 30, UNIDIR, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Korea, and Secure World Foundation hosted a side event at the OEWG.

During this side event, new practical tools, including the Lexicon for Outer Space Security and Space Security Portal, were introduced, tools designed to foster a shared understanding of space security and build mechanisms for multilateral measures.

The experts who developed these tools presented on how these innovations can contribute to the work carried out by UN Member States to ensure that space is kept a peaceful and secure environment.

The event was from 13:00 to 15:00 CET in Room XXII, at the Palais des Nations.

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Last updated on September 5, 2023