Technological learning through international collaboration: Lessons from the field

Feb. 1, 2013


Wood, D. & A. Weigel, “Technological learning through international collaboration: Lessons from the field,” Acta Astronautica, February-March 2013,


Countries on every continent are making new or renewed commitments to domestic satellite programs. These programs have the potential to address national needs by enhancing access to information, improving infrastructure and providing inspiration to the public. How do countries without local expertise in space technology begin a new satellite program? What is the role of international collaboration in supporting the efforts of a new space fairing country? This paper explores such questions by highlighting outputs from intensive field work in Africa and Asia. Specifically, the study explores case studies of early space activity in these countries to search for lessons about the management of a young space program. The observations from field work are compared to ideas from scholarly literature on technological learning. The findings are organized using principles from systems architecture. The paper presents a model that captures many of the influences and strategic decision areas for a collaborative satellite development project. The paper also highlights the growth of capability among African countries in the area of satellite technology.

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