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April 9th, 2020

Secure World Foundation's COVID-19 Operations Plan

Secure World Foundation Executive Director Peter Martinez has released the following information regarding the organization's operations during the COVID-19 assault on all...

Dr. Peter Martinez

A month ago, when we were putting the finishing touches on our March newsletter, there were ominous signs of COVID-19 becoming a global pandemic, and we started to plan for its disruptive effects on SWF operations. By mid-month, in the short space of one week, we decided first to suspend international travel, then domestic travel within the United States, and then we switched to tele-working mode. For the past two weeks the SWF staff has been working from home and we expect to remain in this current mode of operations at least until the end of May, and possibly longer.

In order to support social distancing efforts, all SWF events planned for the March to May timeframes in the United States and elsewhere have either been postponed or cancelled. In some cases it has been possible to reorganize events from in-person gatherings to virtual online events using internet teleconferencing services. Some are reported in this newsletter. In other cases, events are being postponed until the third or fourth quarter of 2020. The SWF Summit for Space Sustainability has been postponed from its originally scheduled dates in early June to September 10-11,  2020. We hope to welcome many of you to this event in person.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our solidarity with our colleagues and partner organizations around the world at this difficult time. If anything, COVID-19 shows that we are all together on spaceship Earth, that we all share a common future, and that what each of us does on one side of the globe has impacts far, far away.

It was Heraclitus of Ephesus, a re-Socratic Ionian Greek philosopher of the 6th century BCE, who once said “everything flows, and nothing stays,” meaning that nothing is constant and that all things change. Nowadays this is often paraphrased as “The only constant in life is change.” The space community certainly embodies this notion of perpetual change, and we have become used to witnessing change at a breathtaking pace. COVID-19 is certainly introducing many changes in the way we work and interact with each other, and how this will play out in the space sector in general, and for SWF in particular, remains to be seen.

However, we are confident that our guiding vision of the peaceful uses and exploration of outer space contributing to global stability and benefits on Earth will continue to be just as relevant in a post COVID-19 world as it is today. We will therefore continue to work with our partners and colleagues around the world to preserve outer space  as a sustainable, secure, safe and stable operating environment for space actors from all nations. We would like to thank all of you for your understanding and flexibility, and to assure you that you can also count on our support, as we work together through this challenging period.

Kind regards, Peter Martinez, Executive Director, Secure World Foundation