Ad hoc ad astra: Why Swedish remote sensing made environmental knowledge as a bi-product of doing other things, 1969–2001
Time: Wed 2019-06-05 15.00 - 16.00
Location: Lecture Hall FA32, AlbaNova, Roslagstullsbacken 21
Participating: Johan Gärdebo
During the late twentieth century, the state-owned Swedish Space Corporation established a satellite remote sensing infrastructure and defined uses for the technology both within and beyond Sweden. Johan Gärdebo’s research historicises Sweden’s role in developing remote sensing as a technology that by present time is used both to manage environments on a global scale and to provide an understanding of what the environment is. In particular, Gärdebo traces how uses of remote sensing were motivated by and related to other aims, for example Swedish non-alignment, development aid, and the export of expertise to new markets.
Swedish satellite remote sensing experts contributed to numerous international demonstrations that emphasised the technology as a tool for sustainable development of environments on a global scale. These activities beyond Sweden, often through transnational collaborations, were undertaken to establish satellite remote sensing within Sweden. Gärdebo argues that the lack of a long-term strategy for the Swedish government’s space activities forced the technoscientific experts to find ad hoc uses for their technology, of which environmental applications were the most significant.