President of the first international space state, -or- “Governance ….iiiiiiin Spaaaaaace.”

Here’s a thread from the sustainable leadership department.  Who governs people in space?  I started thinking about this after reading an article about the muli-national group of folks onboard the ISS right now.  click here:

Share your thoughts:  Do we need an new interational organization?  Do the space treaties from the 1960’s still apply now, fifty years later?  What does the “President of the first international space state” actually mean?  Comment on how you think Gennady Padalka, the ISS commander did in his first “term.”  Will each space vehicle have it’s own “territory”?  I’m interested in your comments.


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4 thoughts on “President of the first international space state, -or- “Governance ….iiiiiiin Spaaaaaace.”

  1. J Simmons

    Lost in translation?

    The article you link to is a little odd. I wonder if the translation of the Russian representative was accurate. That being siad, it does bring up interesting points.

    • What laws govern orbital outposts and why? This is particularly problematic on a multi-national facility like ISS.
    • As long as the crew are all government employees (and are basically one step removed from the restrictions placed on deployed service men and women) the question may be somewhat moot. But what happens when random private citizens go into space?
    • How many private citizens does it take on any given outpost to necessitate a real legal system on orbit?
    • Are there actions on orbit that would be acceptable on Earth, but should be criminalized in space? If so, who adjudicates those cases? And who adjudicates cases that would be criminal in either place?
    • I wonder how the colonies were structured, and what was different colony to colony (based on size and population make up)?

    I am sure there are a lot more, these were just the first few to spring to mind.

  2. Maureen Carruthers

    Just goes to show. . .

    Just goes to show how words mean different things to different people. To me sustainable leadership is all about building systems that provide people what they need to do their best work–and keep doing their best work over time.

    The whole “who gets to boss around whom” element of things never crossed my mind.

    As we move more people into space this will become more of an issue, but I think we can do better than setting up an extension of the adversarial systems of world governance we have down here.

    1. Greg Moran Post author

      governance = leadership

      In my opinion there is no difference between sustainable leaderhip and governance (in this case). I don’t understand the disctinction you made.

      The purpose of having an established chain of command is not to allow others to “boss each other around” but to bring a group of diverse people with unique skills together into a cohesive team to accomplish a shared vision. Good leaders never have to give orders because they have developed good teams with individuals that act in the benefit of the group. As long as there’s a clear and open communication there is no need. Giving orders is important in some instances where important decisions are needed quickly. This also opens the discussion on followership (definition). This could be a long and drawn out converstaion unsuited to blogs! I have lots of other thoughts on the purpose of leadership & followership and the implementation of sustainable leadership in terms of space. Happy to share if interested!

      1. Maureen Carruthers

        As difficult as it might be, I think the blog is exactly where we need to have this conversation–because it’s a great example of how our own experiences and biases affect how we see things.

        I’ve never worked anywhere with a “chain of command” was seen as a good thing. If there was any kind of hierarchy the goal of the organization was to do everything we could to flatten it out. So to me chain of command/hirerarchical governance structures aren’t there to allow diversity of thought but to squash it.

        Obviously, you’ve had different experiences.

        One of the challenges of Mach 30 will be to create governance structures where we can both feel at home.


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