2nd Summit for Space Sustainability Student Essay Competition

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Secure World Foundation is excited to announce a student essay competition in conjunction with our 2nd Summit for Space Sustainability. 

Space sustainability is recognized as a priority issue among many policymakers and space practitioners. Building on the success of the inaugural Summit in 2019, this year’s Summit for Space Sustainability will focus on the progress being made in improving space sustainability and the gaps and challenges that remain. Participants will engage with a diverse group of international stakeholders to examine a range of issues across civil, commercial, and national security sectors and ideas for action. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, this event will be held virtually from September 9-11, 2020.   

SWF is dedicated to encouraging the next generation of space professionals to address the challenges of space sustainability and is hosting this competition as a way of promoting ideas and participation from students. The top five essays will be published on the Summit for Space Sustainability website, and these authors will be acknowledged during the Summit and will each receive a $500 prize.

Essay Topic Options

  1. How should stakeholders (including governments, industry, and the scientific community) mitigate the potential impact of large satellite constellations on astronomy?
  2. How can private sector perspectives be better represented in space-related multilateral fora such as the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space or the Group on Earth Observations?
  3. How should the United States approach future space engagement with China? What are the possible benefits and risks in doing so?
  4. Should governments create a “license to drive” for satellite operators?
  5. What can be done to incentivize governments to clean up existing orbital debris?

Contest Rules

  • Sponsor: This contest is sponsored by Secure World Foundation, located at 525 Zang St Suite D, Broomfield, CO 80021.
  • Length: Essays should be at least 1,000 words but should not exceed 1,250 words. All entries must be in English. 
  • Topics: Entrants should select one of the five essay topic options above as a prompt.
  • Deadline: 11:59 PM EST (UTC -4) Sunday, August 2, 2020.
  • Eligibility: Must be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at an accredited or internationally recognized university. Students who have already completed a master’s degree, or PhD students who have advanced to candidacy, are not eligible.
  • Number of Entries: Limit one entry per person.
  • Notification: Winners will be notified by email prior to September 9, 2020. 
  • Judging: A panel of judges from the Secure World Foundation will score each paper on the following criteria:
    • Topical relevance (Does the essay address one of the five essay prompts and demonstrate an understanding of the topic?): 25%
    • Quality of analysis (Is the essay well-reasoned with good supporting examples or evidence?): 25%
    • Originality (Does the essay provide a novel or fresh perspective on the topic?): 25%
    • Form, style, and mechanics (Does the essay conform to rules of the written language and communicate clearly and effectively?): 25% 
  • Submission: All entries must be received via the submission form provided here.

For further information or questions, please contact Project Manager Josh Wolny at jwolny@swfound.org.

Last updated on June 30, 2020