Satellites, rockets and services: a place for space in geography?


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Billing, Chloe Ashton (2017). Satellites, rockets and services: a place for space in geography? University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Despite the importance of satellite-enabled applications to society, geographical discussions of the space sector have been dominated by accounts of the geopolitics ‘up there’, without due consideration of the industry driving the use of space ‘down here’. As a result, the geography of the space sector, and the interactions between the agents and institutions involved, have been overlooked in the academic literature. To address this ‘silence’, this thesis explores the competitiveness, organisation and governance of the UK space sector.

The primary method of data collection for this thesis was eighty semi-structured interviews with representatives from the UK space sector. The conceptual framework integrated economic and geopolitical concepts on competitiveness, organisation and governance.

Key findings of this thesis include: (i) orbital slots and frequency spectrum are competitive assets, which highlight the verticality of our economy; (ii) heritage is a source of competitiveness, which can cause technological lock-in; (iii) different segments within the UK space sector manage their own production projects, which are linked by buyer-supplier relationships (BSRs); (iv) BSRs are influenced by buyers, contracts, technology, time and geography; and (v) the governance of the UK space sector is multi-centric, with a dominance of regulatory forms.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics


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