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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: SPST640 Course ID: 4834 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course will examine the importance of international space cooperation and diplomacy, enabling all nations, states, and consortiums to enjoy the benefits of space technology and ensuring the safety, stability, and security of outer space. Students will work in teams or individually and think critically about the importance of cooperating with both allies and if necessary, adversaries, to develop potential solutions to the world’s most critical and complex problems in space. Some of the topics of discussion will include the history of civilian and military space development; the ongoing debate on weapons in space; the past and current policy and guidance on space activities; the current threats to the safety and stability of space operations; the types of International cooperation; and a discussion of the cooperation strategies the US should pursue.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

These are the course objectives:

CO-1: Analyze the history of civilian and military space development.

CO-2: Examine space diplomacy from the beginning of the Space Age to today.

CO-3: Differentiate the U.S. National Space Policy's guidelines on national diplomacy.

CO-4: Examine policies, treaties, and agreements associated with space access and space activities.

CO-5: Assess the current threats to the safety, stability, and security of space.

CO-6: Differentiate the goals, strategies, objectives, and treaty-signing preferences of emerging space-faring nations

CO-7: Analyze potential ramifications of failed diplomacy to national security.

CO-8: Prepare effective diplomatic strategies for the U.S. to employ.

Your efforts in this course will be evaluated based upon the following:

** Forum postings

** Short Paper: 8-10 pages on U.S. Soviet relations in the early days of the Space Age

** Diplomatic Challenge: 2-3 pages on America’s major diplomatic challenge

** Midterm Exam: Covers all materials from weeks 1-4

** Research Paper: 15-18 pages on your draft for a space proposal

** Final Exam: Covers all materials from weeks 5–8



Forums / Participation


Short Paper


Diplomatic Challenge Paper




Research Paper


Final Exam




There will 8 Forum topics, one each week. Forums make up 25 percent of your grade.

One of the most important aspects of a graduate class is conversation. Thus the forum topics are designed for developing ideas, entering into dialogue with the instructor and/or your classmates on a variety of topics related to the course. The topics offer some initial comments or questions to initiate responses. Although original thoughts on every topic are not required, each student should strive to include original thoughts or opinions on a majority of the topics. The idea is engagement and discussion. Your comprehension of assigned readings will be reflected in your ability to discuss key course concepts.

Use proper paragraphs, spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. You will earn 100 points for multiple, engaged, substantive participation (including a minimum of 250 words for your initial response and a minimum of 100 words for at least two student responses); 85-95 points for multiple, not as substantive or engaged participation, or minimal substantive or mixed participation. Participation that is not active may range from 70-85 points. No participation earns 0 points.

Short Paper
Each student is to submit a 6-8 page paper on the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the early days of the Space Age. You must also cite at least 5 references. This is a graduate level course and a paper commensurate with graduate level work is expected. The paper must be written IAW Turabian guidelines and uploaded to Turnitin. Details are located in the Assignments Tab.

Although you are welcome to include graphs, photos, charts, etc. they will NOT count toward the minimum requirement of 6 pages of narrative. The paper is worth 15 percent of your overall grade.

Diplomatic Challenge

This will be a 2-3 page paper that briefly summarizes what you consider to be America’s major challenge in outer space and provide your diplomatic solution. The paper is worth 10 percent of your grade. Instead of the challenge being China or Russia’s space capabilities, be creative. The format I am looking for is: 1) identify a challenge (1-2 paragraphs); 2) explain why this is a challenge (2-3 paragraphs); and 3) provide your diplomatic solutions/recommendations (2-3 paragraphs).

This is a graduate level course and a paper commensurate with graduate level work is expected. The paper must be written IAW Turabian guidelines.

Research Paper
The research paper will be 12-15 pages of text on your ideas for an international space proposal. Recommend whether the U.S. should propose a legally-binding treaty or a politically-binding agreement and why? Also include some key tenets and capabilities the U.S should include in such a proposal. The paper must include at least 12 separate references.

Although you are welcome to include graphs, photos, charts, etc. they will NOT count toward the minimum requirement of 12 pages of narrative. The students will decide NLT the end of week 4 whether they want to write the paper individually or as part of a team (assuming there are enough students enrolled).

This paper is worth 20 percent of your overall grade. This is a graduate level course and a paper commensurate with graduate level work is expected. All sources of information must be footnoted and selected bibliography of all sources used or referenced expected.


  • Use for the two papers
  • The ID and Password are provided in the Week 1 Announcement
  • Students who fail to upload their papers to Turnitin will lose 10% from their score

Midterm and Final Exam

The midterm and final exam make up 30 percent of your overall grade. Questions will be short answer or essay and require you to have a good comprehension of all materials presented. For the midterm, you will be responsible for materials from weeks 1 -4 and for the final, all materials from weeks 5-8.

Writing Expectations

All written submissions should be submitted in one of the following Fonts: 11 or 12 point Times New Roman or 11 or 12 point Arial. Double space the text and indent paragraphs in accordance with Turabian guidelines. Separate your topics for ease of reading and good organization. Include a Title page with your name, course, topic, and date; and a Table of Contents.

Citation and Reference Style

All assignments should follow the Turabian Style guidelines. You may cite your sources using footnotes OR endnotes but include separate pages for References and the Bibliography. Assignments completed in a narrative essay or composition format should follow Turabian Citation Style guidelines. This will require students to use the citation and reference style established by Kate Turabian in her A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th or 7th editions. Here is a quick link description how to use Turabian style:

Late Assignments
I understand there are times in your personal and professional lives that may preclude you from completing assignments on time. I want you to submit quality work and not work that is rushed just to meet a suspense. Try to stay ahead of the assignments so you can stick to the set guidelines. However, if you need more time for any reason, take it. I am typically very flexible with suspenses, but ONLY when there is a good justification. All I ask is that you let me know BEFORE the assignment due date that you require additional time. Don’t request additional time two hours before the assignment is due or the day after. Students who submit assignments late without pre-coordination with the instructor will have points deducted from that assignment. Routine submission of late assignments is unacceptable and will result in points deducted from your final course grade.

***If you have questions about the course grading, don't hesitate to contact me either by email or through the Sakai message system***

NameGrade %
Forums 25.00 %
Forum 1 3.13 %
Forum 2 3.13 %
Forum 3 3.13 %
Forum 4 3.13 %
Forum 5 3.13 %
Forum 6 3.13 %
Forum 7 3.13 %
Forum 8 3.13 %
Research Paper 20.00 %
International Space Proposal Research Paper (Week 7) 20.00 %
Short Paper 15.00 %
Early Space Diplomatic Relations Short Paper (Week 3) 15.00 %
Essay 10.00 %
America's Major Challenge Essay (Week 6) 10.00 %
Exams 30.00 %
Midterm 15.00 %
Final Exam 15.00 %


Acuthan, J. P. (2006). China’s Outer Space Programme: Diplomacy of Competition or Co-operation? China Perspectives, January - February 2006. Accessed at

Boutwell, J., Hitchens, T., & Moltz, J. (2004). Enhancing Space Security by Improving Stakeholder Cooperation, Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy, 2:2, 99-106

Correll, R. (2004) Military Space Cooperation: Aligning the Balance of Power and Building Common Interest, Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy, 2:2, 133-147

Gallagher, N. (2010) Space Governance and International Cooperation, Astropolitics: The International Journal of Space Politics & Policy, 8:2-3, 256-279

Dembling, Paul G. and Arons, Daniel M., "The Evolution of the Outer Space Treaty" (1967). Documents on Outer Space Law. Paper 3.
Accessed at

Giri, C. (2013). Mining in Space: The Next Frontier. The Diplomat, July 16, 2013. Accessed at

Lewis, Major Carl E. (1989). U.S. – Soviet Cooperation in Space: A Case Study.

Listner, M. (2011). An exercise in the Art of War: China’s National Defense white paper, outer space, and the PPWT. The Space Review, April 25, 2011

Vadlamudi, S. (2011). INDO-U.S. Space Cooperation. The Non-Proliferation Review, 12:1, 199-223

Whiting, Steven Lt Col (2002). Policy, Influence & Diplomacy: Space as a National Power Element. Thesis Presented to the School of Advanced Airpower Studies, June 2002. Accessed at

Space Treaties/Policies/Codes of Conduct:

1967 Outer Space Treaty

1968 Rescue and Return Agreement

1972 Liability Convention

1976 Registration Convention

2006 U.S. National Space Policy
2010 U.S. National Space Policy

2013 (September). Draft International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities

Book Title:Outer Space: Weapons, Diplomacy, and Security (Ebook available through the APUS Online Library)
Publication Info:Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Author:Arbatov, A. and Dvorkin, V.
Unit Cost:$26.11

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.