Topic outline

  • 2024 NSS University spUN Debate Program

    NSS presents the 2024 University spUN Debate Program, inviting university students worldwide to join a debate team. This is a 100% virtual opportunity!

  • About the 2024 University spUN Debates

    National Space Society hosts the 2024 University spUN Debate

    Author:  Frances Dellutri,  NSS Dir. of Education, spUN Debate Program Manager

       Jordan Strudwick, NSS University spUN Debates Program Manager


    Top News:  

    The NSS Space Policy and Universalization (spUN) Debates offer international students an opportunity to form a global team to debate space policy with an eye on Universalization – finding solutions through world-wide collaboration and cooperation for the space industry and here on Earth.

    For 2024, the University students debated the resolution:

    "The international community must establish regulations for space-based solar power to mitigate potential hazards."

    spUN University Debates 2024 Video Links



    Debate Link

    May 12

    7.45 am CDT

    May 18

    7.45 am CDT

    The 2024 Final University spUN Debate: HERE



    The 2024  University  Space Policy and Universalization (spUN) Debates will mark the third year of the university level debates.  

    The 2024 spUN Debate Program is 100% virtual and brings together teams of 3 debaters (university age) from all around the world to investigate and present the pros and cons of a resolution on space policy issues while learning to value different perspectives, cultures, and languages.

    This is an image of International University debaters in the 2023 spUN debate tournament  


    What are the benefits of the spUN Debates?   In their own words: 


    The format is based on the World Schools Debate Format and teams debate in a double-elimination program with the final debate live-streamed from the National Space Society (NSS) International Space Development Conference (ISDC) from Los Angeles, CA, USA on Saturday, May 25, 2024.

    spUN University Applicants must be enrolled in a university/college during 2023-24 academic calendar. 

    This website will be updated routinely. To find out a bit about universalization and its connection to debating space policy take a look at the 3 minute video below:

  • More About Universalization?

    The spUN Debates began in 2017 at the National Space Society's International Space Development Conference in St. Louis, MO, USA.  Dr. LJ Edmonds gave a presentation to international students on the topic of universalization, a concept for cooperation and living that will greatly impact space development.  Several students and a teacher engaged in an animated discussion of the impacts universalization could have on space settlement but also on how we successfully and harmoniously move forward in Earthly policies and interactions!

    Here are some videos that resulted from the subsequent spUN Debate Tournaments in 2018 and 2019. The first video is an overview of the 2018 H.S. debates...

    Please take a moment to see the impact the study of the universalization concept made on the student debaters.  


    ...and the second video talks about the practicalities of space living and governing and, how to buy chocolate in space! 

    The next video is from a podcast in which Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds was interviewed by Starcast about the universalization concept.  This concept isDr. Lorna Jean Edmonds very important in our debates, both to see the concept in the  debate arguments, and also as a guide in the  conduct of everyone in the NSS spUN Debate Organization.

     Past university resolutions: (2022  - 2024_)

    • The Gateway will be critical in expanding human presence to the Moon and deeper into the solar system.

    • Space traffic management should be regulated by the UN Security Council.

    • The international community must establish regulations for space-based solar power to mitigate potential hazards.

    We hope these resources will you help you to frame the future of our world!

  • Resolution and Information on the 2024 Resolution

    2024 University spUN Resolution:

    The international community must establish regulations for space-based solar power to mitigate potential hazards.

    The 2024 University spUN Mentor Forum:

    Presented by Mr. John Mankins on March 16, 2024:

    Passcode: c&V5.M%4

    The accompanying slides to this presentation are attached below.

    Consideration of important words found in the resolution are:

    Many of the terms in the resolution may be new to you. Here are definitions of key terms in the resolution. 

    1.          International Community: A collective of nations cooperating across borders, often through international organizations like the United Nations or treaties, to address issues of mutual or global concern.

    2.              Regulations: Rules or directives created and maintained by an authority to govern conduct or procedures within a specific area or system.

    3.              Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP): A method of collecting solar energy in space via satellites and transmitting it to Earth. SBSP has the potential to provide a significant portion of humanity's energy needs, but also presents unique challenges and risks.

    4.              Mitigate: To make less severe, serious, or painful; to lessen the gravity of an adverse situation.

    5.              Potential Hazards: Anticipated dangers or problems that may arise, often as a consequence of the implementation or operation of a particular system or process.

    6.              Universalization -- the next phase of human development, marking the transition from nation states to a single world view of humanity where all individuals are treated fairly without regard to nation of origin, race, sexual orientation, and physical or mental ability.


    In your endeavor to engage in a thought-provoking debate on the resolution regarding the international regulation of space-based solar power (SBSP) to mitigate potential hazards, it's vital to delve into an array of scholarly, governmental, and industry-specific resources to garner a well-rounded understanding. Here’s a breakdown of resources you might find helpful.

    1. Scholarly Articles:

    ·       Ohio University hosts a discussion on the legal aspects of Space Based Solar Power, shedding light on its origins and the inherent challenges due to the solar power's availability variance on Earth​.1

    ·       An article from ScienceDirect elucidates how SBSP could serve as a catalyst for space development despite the technical, regulatory, and geopolitical hurdles​.2

    ·       A chapter by Ram S. Jakhu & Joseph N. Pelton discusses the feasibility, operational, economic, and regulatory issues associated with SBSP​.3

    2.    Governmental and Space Agencies' Inputs:  (Updated Feb 27, 2024)

    ·    “Space-Based Solar Power,” a recent report from the NASA’s Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS) aims to provide NASA with the information it needs to determine how it can support the development of this field of research.17

    ·   NASA is reevaluating the viability of SBSP, which could provide useful insights into its potential advantages and challenges​​.4

    ·       The Department of Energy offers an interactive discussion on SBSP, reflecting on its potential and the contributions of the Energy Department and the National Labs to the U.S. space program​.5

    3.  Industry Perspectives:

    ·       An article from ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) covers the potential of SBSP to generate significant power and the technical challenges to realize this potential​.6

    ·       A piece on reviews a demonstration by Airbus, hinting at the efficiency and competitive potential of SBSP against terrestrial solar arrays​.7

    4.  Think Tanks and Research Institutions:

    ·       The National Space Society provides a library of papers discussing various aspects of SBSP, such as lightweight space-based solar power generation and transmission satellites, and the opportunities and challenges for space solar for remote installations​.8

    ·       A paper from the American Foreign Policy Council titled "The Promise of Space-Based Solar Power" delves into the geopolitical and energy security implications of SBSP​​.9

    ·       The Aerospace Center for Space Policy and Strategy discusses the evolution of the concept of SBSP and why it might be a pertinent consideration now​.10

    5.  International Cooperation and Regulations:

    ·       Uncover the need for international collaboration and common standards for the success of SBSP​.11

    ·       Examine global governance actions recommended for the implementation of SBSP systems and the international agencies that should address these subjects.12

    ·       Discover the European Space Agency's initiatives, including an international workshop on SBSP for Net Zero by 2050, aimed at exploring the role of SBSP in combating climate change​​.13

    ·       Global Space Governance: An International Study; Space Based Solar Power.14

    ·       Explore the International Code Council's collaboration on International Solar Energy Provisions, which compiles all solar energy-related provisions from the International Codes and the NFPA 70® National Electrical Code ® (NEC®), 2020.15​

     Further Research:

    The above sources are not intended to be the limit of your search. There are many sources outside of those on space policy generally and space based solar power specifically that can help you. For further research, we recommend you delve into:

    1.   Scholarly Articles: Academic papers and journals often provide detailed insights into  

    space-based solar power and its potential hazards.

    2.   Space Agencies: Websites and publications from space agencies like NASA or ESA often contain valuable data and discussions on space policy and technology.

    3.  International Organizations: The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and other international organizations often publish reports and hold discussions on space-related issues.

    4.   Government Reports: Many governments have departments dedicated to space or energy policy, and their reports can provide a national perspective on the issues surrounding space-based solar power.

    5.   Think Tanks and Research Institutions: Groups such as the Brookings Institution or the Heritage Foundation often publish policy papers on emerging technologies and international cooperation.

    6.   Libraries: Local or university libraries are invaluable resources, with books and archives that can provide a historical and technical context.

    7.   Online Forums and Communities: Engaging with communities interested in space policy, like on Reddit or specialized forums, can also be insightful.

    8. Space Based Solar PowerNASA Report, January 11, 2024, 

    9.   Experts and Academics: Contacting professors or experts in space policy or energy technology could provide unique insights and further guidance.


    Bibliography for items noted in the Resource Document:

    1Legal Issues for Space Based Solar Power

     2Space-based Solar Power as a Catalyst for Space Development - ScienceDirect

     3Space-Based Solar Power | SpringerLink

     4NASA to reexamine space-based solar power - SpaceNews

     5Space-Based Solar Power | Department of Energy

    6Space-based solar power may answer Earth’s energy needs. - ASME

    7Space Based Solar Power Getting Serious Can It Solve Earth’s Energy Woes - Science

    8Space Based Solar Power NASA Report Jan 11, 2024

    9Space Solar Power - Library

     10The Promise of Space-Based Solar Power | American Foreign Policy Council

     11Space-Based Solar Power: A Near-Term Investment Decision

    12 Episode 101: Space Based Solar Power: Why Now?

    13Space Solar's ambitious target of a space solar farm by 2035

     14ESA reignites space-based solar power research

     15Space-Based Solar Power | SpringerLink

     16International Code Council announces release of 2021 International Solar Energy Provisions® - ICC

    17New Study Updates NASA on Solar Power, Jan 11, 2024.

    Please see videos on this website for more information on the concept of Universalization. A reference and connection to universalization in the debate arguments and in the team activities will be part of the debate assessment during the tournament.

    It will be important for the affirmative team to clearly indicate the types of projects they would like to defund or reduce funding and the type of projects they want to prioritize. This should be in their affirmative plan. 

    The affirmative team has the "burden of proof" to establish why the resolution is necessary. Take a case on space debris, for example. The affirmative team can make arguments to establish that space debris could result in a Kessler effect, make lower earth orbit unusable, and then explain how this impacts humanity's survivability. But then the affirmative must explain how their re-prioritizing of projects will solve this problem. Are there enough funds in other projects to create a proper program to combat space debris? Exactly which projects will be eliminated to do this; all projects? 

  • Debate Format - 2024 Univ

    2024 spUN University Format

    World Schools  Debate Championship Format

    ­­Prop – Proposition    Opp – Opposition




    Prop Team, Speaker 1

    Proposition 1

    8 min

    Opp  Team, Speaker 1

    Opposition  1

    8 min

    Prop Team, Speaker 2

    Proposition 2

    8 min

    Opp  Team, Speaker 2

    Opposition  2

    8 min

    Prop Team, Speaker 3

    Proposition 3

    8 min

    Con  Team, Speaker 3

    Opposition  3

    8 min

    Opp  Team, Speaker 1 or 2

    Opposition Reply

    4 min

    Prop Team, Speaker 1 or 2

    Reply to Opposition Reply

    4 min

    Total Time


    56 min



    POI (Point of Information) may be offered by the opposing team between minutes 1 and 7 of the speech. The speaker may accept or decline a POI, but speakers are expected to accept two POI’s during their speech.

    Please see section:  Information on POIs below.

  • 2024 Univ Tournament Information

    REVISED  April 12, 2024:

    The 2024 University spUN Debate Tournament  is 100% virtual and will be held over the Zoom platform.  The preliminary rounds of this double elimination tournament will be held the weekends of May 12, and 18.  The weekend of May 19 would be used in the case of technical difficulty. 

    The final debate/s will be virtually held on Zoom and broadcast at the International Space Development Conference (ISDC ) and then streamed out via NSS Facebook.  

    Saturday, May 25, 2024 at 10:30 Pacific Daylight Time is the date for this debate. 

    At the culmination of  the May 25th debate, if both teams have only one loss, the losing team has the option to accept their May 25th loss as the end of the tournament.  However, if the losing team of the May 25th round wishes to engage in a subsequent round to take advantage of the double elimination status, then another debate will be held on 

    Sunday, May 26th, 2024 at 10:30 Pacific Daylight Time at the ISDC.

    This debate will also be streamed via NSS Facebook.

    The tournament brackets are as follows:

    This image shows the double elimination brackets for the 2024 spUN University Tournament.

  • Information on POIs

    A debater has a protected time when they cannot be interrupted in their speech.                               Two university age students are debating one another.  The male has a finger raised.  The female appears to be listening.

    That time in the spUN Debates is 1 min at the beginning of their speaking period and 1 minute at the end of their speaking period.  This is called their 'Protected time.'

    However, they  the speaking debaters can be interrupted between those protected times by the opposing debater offering a Point of Information or a POI.  

    A POI cannot be offered in the final Replies to Opposition and Proposition at the end of the World School Debate Format.

    Here is how it works in the virtual spUN University Debates:

    1. When to offer the POI: During the 'unprotected time' ( one minute AFTER they begin speaking or one minute BEFORE their speaking time has expired.

     2. How to offer the POI:  The opposing debater uses the chat to indicate to the moderator that they would like to propose or ask a point of information.  This can be directed to 'everyone' in the chat to save time for the POI initiator. The opposing debater would enter the chat:

              POI- and then type in what you wish you to bring forward to the speaking debater. You would type in the chat something similar to the example below.  Be sure and type in POI to alert the moderator.

            Example:      POI: Since we proved the government doesn’t have the right to interfere in personal choices, why is your case about people making harmful personal choices still important in the debate?

    If the POI is not a concise POI, the moderator or assistant will respond the the debater presenting the POI:  NOT CONCISE and will not acknowledge the POI. 

    3. How the POI is acknowledged:  During the debater's unprotected time, if the POI is appropriate, the moderator interrupts the speaker saying "POI."

    4. Response to POI: The debater may say 'Yes" or 'No' or may wave their hand indicating no.

    5. Moderator response to debater:  If the speaking debater indicates 'No' the moderator does not respond.

      If the speaking debater indicates 'Yes' the moderator reads the POI that is written in the chat.

    6. 'Yes' Response from speaking debater:   The debater answers as they wish. The time is not stopped during the very concise POI and the speaking debater's response

    7. There is no rebuttal to the speaking debater's POI response.

    8. Requirement of POI response by the speaking debater:  If speaking debater must answer two (2) POIs during their unprotected time, if two are offered.  No more than two (2) responses are required.

    Resources about POIs:

    Learning Leaders, POIs Part 1

    Learning Leaders POIs Part 2

    How to answer a POI

  • Rulebook- 2024 spUN Debate

    The 2024 spUN Debate Program is pleased to present the spUN Debate Program Rulebook. 

    The spUN Rulebook outlines such topics as:

    Debater Code of Conduct

    Qualifications and Eligibility to be considered for the spUN Debate Program

    Requirements and Expectations for the Program

    Practice Tournament and Program Tournament Organization

    Debate Format and Adjudication Information

    Challenges and Penalties During the Tournament

    We encourage coaches, debaters, and judges to become acquainted with the Rulebook.

  • 2023 Recordings for the 2023 University spUN Tournament

    You can find the recordings of the individual preliminary debates in attached file below.

    For the Final Debates, both University and High School Levels, please go to NSS Facebook or NSS YouTube

    NSS 2023 spUN University and  High School

    Preliminary Debate  Tournament Video Links can be found in the attached file.

     (also found on YouTube)