Sailor Tyler, Vienna Internship 2024


So, you want to go to Austria and learn about Space.

This was me in November of 2023, having less than no idea about what anything would look like and extremely excited for the opportunity. The European Space Policy Institute had just turned 20 years old and moved into its new quarters in the centre of Vienna, and a day-long flight later, we greeted the office, ready to start researching Space and Defence capabilities.

Settling into the routine of office research work, we were welcomed by several experts in space regarding the economy, law, defence and international relations, and quickly became a part of the team. The first week coincided with the European Space Conference, several discussion panels attended by ESPI staff and livestreamed to the office, gauging current European efforts, priorities and tension points in Space. The week ended with an inauguration party, where we learnt the art of schmoozing with delegates, including Ian Biggs, Australian ambassador to Austria, and preparing for the United Nations next week.

ESPI office inauguration ceremony
L-R: Sailor, Eloise, Ellen and Lucas Bersegol (ESPI Research Fellow)

Weeks two and three saw us arrive to the Vienna International Centre, headquarters for the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs, ready for the Committee On the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space’s Scientific and Technical Subcommittee meetings. Assisted by ESPI staff, we were able to attend several events, specifically one on sustainability, young people and Earth Observation abilities. It was incredible to see just how much every state was doing and the inner machinations of Space diplomacy.

Ambassador Ian Biggs with the Australian
Statement on Space in the General Exchange of Views

During this time, we were working on a report on Space defence capabilities for Australia. We were able to work directly with ESPI’s defence expert, Mathieu Bataille, whose expertise and constructive feedback improved the writing. We were consistent with completing work, so much so that we were able to perform other tasks, like report descriptions for the ESPI website. I was even able to spend the weekends international, making trips to Bratislava (Slovakia), Budapest (Hungary), Prague (Czechia) and Milan (Italy) on recommendations from co-workers, learning more about Europe and its diverse cultures.

Connecting with the ESA astronauts on the ISS, European Space Conference 2024
L-R: Andreas Mogensen and Marcus Wandt

I was able to learn so much in such a short amount of time, surrounded by people willing to share their knowledge and experience of the Space sector. Vienna itself was a great experience, with so much to explore and learn from. This experience allowed me to mature, learn and grow my knowledge and love for Space and international diplomacy. I was able to discover so many future opportunities and pathways, and will certainly cherish this opportunity for years to come.

Sailor Tyler (they/them)

Bachelor of International Relations and Political Science

Posted in
Vienna Internship Program

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