Click the star to add/remove an item to/from your individual schedule.
You need to be logged in to avail of this functionality.


Repair in outer space, repairing outer space 
Lisa Ruth Rand (California Institute of Technology)
Réka Patrícia Gál (University of Toronto)
Donny Persaud (Cornell University)
Send message to Convenors
Lisa Ruth Rand (California Institute of Technology)
Réka Patrícia Gál (University of Toronto)
Donny Persaud (Cornell University)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

In response to current space industry efforts to promote reusable rocket technology while continuing to operate under longstanding extractivist logics, this panel will consider outer space pasts, presents, and futures grounded instead in ethics of care and repair.

Long Abstract:

The development of reusable rockets to support expansion of a colonial space industry is often framed by proponents as a sustainable solution to socio-economic, climate, and orbital crowding crises and a pathway to democratizing access to orbit. Yet, following a 2022 static engine test of “Starship,” the largest space rocket to date, Elon Musk tweeted that it is “much better to break things on the ground than en route to orbit.” The following year Starship broke en route to orbit on its first test flight. Upholding the illusion of a material and discursive division between Earth and an externalized Elsewhere (Olson and Messeri 2015), this extractivist way of thinking underpins outer space’s ongoing transformation into a monitored, governed, and appropriated entity for the growing neoliberal space sector. The commercial space industry’s ‘move fast and break things’ ethos indicates limits and risks of the paradigm of reuse as currently configured, and points towards the need to consider alternative approaches to space presents and futures that are explicitly grounded in care.

This panel invites engagements with outer space that focus on the concepts of repair and reparation. In doing so, this panel seeks to explore and critically reflect on the transformative power of the “reparative turn” prevalent within STS and infrastructure studies (Forlano 2017; Jackson 2014; Mattern 2018; Mauldin 2020; Murphy 2015; Sharma 2018; Singh 2020) for the social studies of outer space. How might such conceptual reframings and reparative readings be deployed to transform practical and analytical encounters with outer space? How can focusing on repair work reconfigure practices and epistemologies relating to space? How can reparative historical readings bring attention to previously overlooked or excluded actors in space culture and governance? We especially encourage contributions that take anti-colonial, anti-racist, crip, feminist, Indigenous, and/or queer approaches to this topic.

Accepted papers:

Session 1