Columnist Leonard David

1st annual space piracy conference will examine threats of orbital crime and smuggling

the sun rises above earth as seen from space
A rendering of Earth as seen from space. (Image credit: iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Eye-patches on! Practice your best "grrr." Plop down pieces of eight, doubloons and cue "Captain" Jack Sparrow!

Get ready for the First Annual Space Piracy Conference, set for early next year. Held by the Center for the Study of Space Crime, Policy, and Governance (CSCPG), the conference is a "two-day, invite only symposium that brings together experts prepared to review crime, piracy, and smuggling in space," according to its website.

"Be among the first to discuss mitigating space crime and piracy, from the perspectives of investment, space law, space policy, intelligence, and the military," notes the group.

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Risks of piracy

The CSCPG asks: What are the risks of piracy in space and solutions to this potentially devastating economic and legal problem?

"Now is the time to start thinking and talking about mitigating the threat of piracy in space," said Marc Feldman, Executive Director of the CSCPG. "As we like to say, and please forgive me, Leon Trotsky, but you may not be interested in space piracy, but space pirates are interested in you…"

Feldman, who has worked in the space venture sector for years, is co-author, with Hugh Taylor, of the soon-to-be published book "Space Piracy: Preparing for a Criminal Crisis in Orbit."

Threat to space commerce, national security

"While crime and piracy in space are at this point largely theoretical problems, our view is that now is the time to start thinking about the issue and discussing potential solutions," Taylor, publications director of the center, tells "Space piracy is a threat to space commerce and national security."

"Any serious analysis and planning process for the future of space commerce, as well as space aspects of national security, needs to consider the threat of piracy," explains Gordon Roesler, a space system developer and retired US Navy Captain who serves as an advisor to the conference.

For more information on this event scheduled for next February, as well as the Center for the Study of Space Crime, Policy, and Governance (CSCPG), go to the center's website.

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Leonard David
Space Insider Columnist

Leonard David is an award-winning space journalist who has been reporting on space activities for more than 50 years. Currently writing as's Space Insider Columnist among his other projects, Leonard has authored numerous books on space exploration, Mars missions and more, with his latest being "Moon Rush: The New Space Race" published in 2019 by National Geographic. He also wrote "Mars: Our Future on the Red Planet" released in 2016 by National Geographic. Leonard  has served as a correspondent for SpaceNews, Scientific American and Aerospace America for the AIAA. He has received many awards, including the first Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History in 2015 at the AAS Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium. You can find out Leonard's latest project at his website and on Twitter.

  • Meteoric Marmot
    Shiver me timbers! They made a scheduling error. This conference should have been scheduled to start on September 19 which everyone knows is officially "International Talk Like a Pirate Day."
  • Cisventure Astronot
    Who are the theoretical pirates? Governments, companies, or Rogue Individuals? What are they smuggling? Where are they smuggling it to? And what do you mean by "you may not be interested in space piracy"‽