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Webinar on the Globalization of Space

, co-director and senior scientist

The next in our Global Security Technical Webinar Series will be held on Thursday, February 11, at noon Boston time (17:00 UTC) (for corresponding times around the world click here).

Dr. Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, will be talking about:

“The Globalization of Space: What’s Up?”


The space race isn’t what it used to be. What started off as a competition between superpower governments has become a free-for-all with dozens of countries and many commercial and non-profit entities.

I’ll bring you up to date on the internationalization, commercialization and democratization of Earth orbit. How much stuff is in space now, who is putting it there, and what kinds of things are going on? I’ll also review the different kinds of orbits satellite use.


Dr. Jonathan McDowell is an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, MA, USA. He studies black holes, quasars and X-ray sources in galaxies, as well as developing data analysis software for the X-ray astronomy community. He has a BA in Mathematics (1981) and a PhD in Astrophysics (1986) from the University of Cambridge, England. He currently leads the group which plans and tests the science analysis software for the Chandra space telescope. Dr. McDowell’s scientific publications include studies of cosmology, black holes, merging galaxies, quasars, and asteroids.

Jonathan is also the editor of Jonathan’s Space Report, a free internet newsletter founded in 1989 which provides technical details of satellite launches, and was formerly a columnist in Sky and Telescope Magazine. His web site,, provides the most comprehensive historical list of satellite launch information starting with Sputnik, and he carries out research on space history topics using original sources including declassified DoD documents and Russian-language publications.

How to join the webinar:

The webinars use on online tool called GlobalMeet.

A day or two before the webinar, check your computer’s compatibility by clicking on this link: (Note that you will not need to use “screen share” so you can skip step 3 in the test.)

To join the webinar, a few minutes before the scheduled time go to:

Login as “Guest” by giving your name and email address.

To listen through your computer, click on “Call My Computer”, which will enable you to get audio over the internet.

Participants in the U.S. and Canada can instead connect over the phone, if they prefer, by clicking “Connect Me” and entering the phone number where you want GlobalMeet to call you.

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Remote Control at Nuclear Power Plants

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design: Safety by Intent #18

Disaster by Design

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #17 covered command and control problems at nuclear power plants that undermined safety. Remote control is required at nuclear power plants to provide capabilities when the control room has to be abandoned. This commentary covers remote control and some of its problems. Read more >

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North Korea is Launching a Rocket Soon: What Do We Know About It?

, co-director and senior scientist

North Korea has announced that it will launch a rocket sometime in the next two weeks to put a satellite in orbit for the second time. What do we know about it, and how worried should we be? Read more >

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Command and Control

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #17

Disaster by Design

Command and control is often used to describe the authority of military leaders in directing armed forces in battle. It can also refer to senior managers at nuclear power plants and the resources they command and control to fend off safety challenges.

Faulty intelligence, or flawed situational awareness, undermines command and control when leaders have the wrong understanding of hazards and/or response capabilities. Read more >

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