Policy news and events – Save the dates

UN/Austria Symposium 2024

🌍 Space Applications for Climate Action: Addressing Challenges and Opportunities

Join us for the UN/Austria Symposium 2024, where we’ll explore the role of space applications in climate action. Save the date for this important event:

📅 Date: June 2024

Learn about successful initiatives, exchange best practices, and discuss policy alignment. Stay tuned for updates on the programme and registration details!

#UNSymposium2024 #SpaceForClimate #ClimateAction

🛰️ Space Sustainability Open Forum – Active Debris Removal

🚀 Tackling Space Debris: Regulatory Perspectives

Join us for an insightful discussion on the importance of active debris removal and gain valuable insights into regulatory frameworks. Save the date: April 15, 2024, from 13:00 to 14:00 (GMT).

🔔 Registration Deadline: April 12, 2024

#SpaceSustainability #ActiveDebrisRemoval #UNOOSA #SpaceForum #OnlineEvent

🚀 Key Dates for UN/Austria Symposium 2024

The UN/Austria Symposium 2024 is a landmark event focused on harnessing space applications for climate action. Save the following dates to ensure your participation and contribution to this significant endeavor:

  • Deadline for submission of abstract: April 7, 2024
  • Deadline for registration to attend in person: April 14, 2024
  • Deadline for registration to attend online: July 10, 2024

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to engage with experts, share insights, and drive meaningful change in the fight against climate change.

#UNSymposium2024 #SpaceForClimate #ClimateAction #SpaceApplications

European Space Law Delay: An Assessment

According to Niklas Nienass’ recent post, the postponement of the European Space Act within the current legislative period has raised concerns about the trajectory of European space policy. Nienass had previously underscored the importance of this legislation in safeguarding vital satellite infrastructure and promoting sustainability in space activities.

Despite initial commitments from Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Commissioner Thierry Breton, the delay in presenting the European Space Law has prompted reflections on its potential implications. Nienass expressed disappointment over the setback, emphasizing the urgency of establishing regulatory frameworks to address emerging challenges in space governance.

Nienass’s critique of the delay highlights the need for Europe to maintain a proactive stance in shaping the future of space exploration. As discussions continue on the content and implementation of the European Space Law, Nienass’s advocacy serves as a reminder of the importance of swift action in ensuring the safety and sustainability of space activities.

More information about the post maybe found here.

EXPLORE – Career Profiles

EXPLORE – Career Profiles

Europlanet’s sister-project, EXPLORE, has been funded by the European Commission to develop Machine Learning and advanced visualisation tools to support the astronomy and planetary communities. One of the real strengths of the EXPLORE project is the diverse skills-set of the team. As the project comes to a close, we’ve asked people working on the project to reflect on their careers, their inspirations and the advice that they would pass on. Click on the images below to read their career profiles. If they look familiar, many of the team are also part of the Europlanet 2024 RI project’s GMAP activity and comms team.

We have produced an edited set of the profiles for download:

EXPLORE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.

EXPLORE Career Profiles: Lian Greijn

EXPLORE Career Profiles

Name: Lian Greijn
EXPLORE Project Role: Intern
Professional Role and Affiliation: Intern at Acri-ST & MSc student Aerospace Engineering at TU Delft
Nationality: Dutch
Current location: Toulouse, France.

1. What did you want to be when you were 10?

For a long time, I wanted to become a judge. However, when I was old enough to learn how monotone judicial texts are I quickly abandoned that dream. 

2. What was your favourite subject at school?

My favourite subject was history, I really like reading and I enjoyed how it offers a perspective on how past events shape our modern world.

3. What did you study at university? Why did you choose those topics and the places to study?

I am still studying and in my final year for my MSc in aerospace engineering, I also completed my BSc in this field both at TU Delft. I always had a big passion for space and was very intrigued by the complexity of space missions. They have such challenging design criteria and really push the boundaries of engineering, I wanted to learn more about how we design and develop them. I chose Delft because it has a very strong international aerospace programme.

4. How did you get your first job? How many jobs have you had since?

I am of course still studying and haven’t had my first ‘real’ job yet, but I found this internship by asking around a lot in my university. For example, by approaching professors, the alumni relation office, and people I met through career events.

5. What’s been the biggest piece of luck or ‘surprise twist’ you have had in your career to date?

I was very adamant about going to Toulouse for my internship due to the strong aerospace industry in this city and because I studied French for a semester. It is however quite tough to find a position from abroad especially as a non-native French speaker. I had found an alumnus of my university who worked here and asked if he could help me. He happened to approach my current supervisor at their kid’s schoolyard to ask if he would know a position, which is what got me on this project.

6. Have you had a mentor or person that inspired you? How did they help you?

I have been inspired by almost everyone I worked with. I think working together on assignments or just discussing problems can really help with thinking outside the box and with motivation in general.  

7. What are the main things you do each day?

As part of the project, I mostly spend my day programming in Python (and therefore also a lot of time googling issues). I also spend a bit of time working on public outreach, such as editing video tutorials. 

8. What do you like best about the work that you do and what do you like least?

I really enjoy the required creativity and problem solving that comes with programming. You constantly find a new issue and try to figure out how to solve it. Sometimes tasks seem very daunting at the start, but when you manage to solve it, it is very rewarding. 

What I like least is probably that most of the work is done just sitting behind a computer, I would love to move a little more and have a bit more of a change in scenery. 

9. Do you have ambitions or things that you would like to do next?

Mostly to graduate next year! 

10. What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

A bit cliché but I would say to just enjoy life as a kid. I would also tell myself that I am not nearly as bad at maths as I like to make myself believe. 

Quick CV

  • Academic qualifications
    • BSc in Aerospace Engineering
  • Main or selected jobs to date: 
    • Internship at Acri-ST

More EXPLORE Career Profiles

EXPLORE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.

EXPLORE Career Profiles: Giacomo Nodjoumi

EXPLORE Career Profiles

Name: Giacomo Nodjoumi
EXPLORE Project Role: Co-leader of the development of L-EXPLO and L-HEX Lunar Scientific Data Applications
Professional Role and Affiliation: PhD Candidate, Constructor University
Nationality: Italian
Current location: Bremen, Germany.

1. What did you want to be when you were 10?

Space game developer, professional bass player, fighter jet pilot/astronaut… I had too many different interests and dreams.

2. What was your favourite subject at school?

Natural Sciences and informatics were the most interesting for me. But I also enjoyed chemistry and English. I really disliked humanities; now I regret that I was not more interested in those fields.

3. What did you study at university? Why did you choose those topics and the places to study?

Both my Bachelor’s and Master’s were in geology, so I mainly studies scientific fields, from chemistry to petrography and so on. My Master’z was focused on engineering geology and risk assessment and management, so the topics shifted a bit to more practical problems for risk assessment and mitigation, such as slope stability or geophysics, remote sensing and so on.

I chose these subjects for the love of natural sciences, and the desire to know more about our Earth. The Master’s was chosen essentially for the course in remote sensing (feeding my nerdy side).

4. How did you get your first job? How many jobs have you had since?

My Master’s thesis supervisor offered me one, since I made a working prototype of a multi-camera instrument for monitoring landslide. I’ve had two jobs including my actual position. The first one in the company of my supervisor, but it lasted only for three months, it was not fulfilling my expectations.

5. What’s been the biggest piece of luck or ‘surprise twist’ you have had in your career to date?

A colleague and close friend, aware of my passion for remote sensing and space, put me in contact with my current PhD supervisor. Since I always thought that working in planetary science was impossible for me, it was a life-changing event, especially since I had to move to another country for longer periods of time. The ‘surprise twist’ (even if I would describe it as a very, very biggest piece of bad luck for the whole world) was that the Covid-19 pandemic started almost immediately after my arrival in Bremen.

6. Have you had a mentor or person that inspired you? How did they help you?

No one in particular, maybe Baden-Powell (founder of the Scout Movement) inspired me in my “youth days”, but since then I’d say that any person that I met, lived with, or worked with, left me some sort of lesson which helped me grow up in different aspects of my life.

One of Baden-Powell’s mottos, ‘Estote Parati,’ which translates to ‘Be Prepared’ in English, inspired me to be ready for everyday challenges. Additionally, a point of the Scout’s Law, “A Scout’s duty is to be useful and to help others”, motivated me to strive to be a better person. 

7. What are the main things you do each day?

Drink coffee, analyse planetary data, develop Python tools, read scientific papers, write papers for my PhD, keep updated with trending technologies and – last but not least – drink more coffee!

8. What do you like best about the work that you do and what do you like least?

I really like the fact that I am pursuing almost all my passions, even if it can be very stressful and challenging.

9. Do you have ambitions or things that you would like to do next?

I would like to continue developing something that may help future generations that wants to join the planetary science community.

10. What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

I know that may sounds a classic answer but “Listen to your mother, think less, enjoy life more, and do more exercises!”

Quick CV

  • Academic qualifications
    • Bachelor’s in Geology
    • Master’s in Engineering Geology and Risk Assessment
    • PhD Candidate in Planetary Sciences
  • Main or selected jobs to date: 
    • MsC in Engineering Geology (2016-2019)
    • Junior Remote Sensing Analyst (2019-2020)
    • PhD Candidate in planetary sciences (2020-Present)

More EXPLORE Career Profiles

EXPLORE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.

EXPLORE Career Profiles: Andree Genot

EXPLORE Career Profiles

Name: Andree Genot
EXPLORE Project Role: adwäisEO Project Manager for EXPLORE Cloud Integration and Science Data Archiving activities
Professional Role and Affiliation: Project Manager at adwäisEO
Nationality: Belgian
Current location: Luxembourg

1. What did you want to be when you were 10?

At the age of 10, I aspired to be either a policeman or a firefighter. This inclination reflected my tomboyish nature and a desire to engage in adventurous and heroic pursuits.

2. What was your favourite subject at school?

I had several favourite subjects in school, including languages, sciences, and history. Each subject appealed to different aspects of my interests and curiosity.

3. What did you study at university? Why did you choose those topics and the places to study?

I pursued a degree in Communications at university with the initial intention of entering the field of advertising. The choice of Communications appealed to me because of its versatility, offering opportunities in various career fields. I opted to study in Brussels due to its international and cosmopolitan atmosphere, providing a rich cultural and educational experience.

4. How did you get your first job? How many jobs have you had since?

I secured my first job through word of mouth. Over the course of my career, I have had three jobs, with one particular role lasting for an impressive 13 years. Networking and personal connections played a significant role in shaping my career trajectory.

5. What’s been the biggest piece of luck or ‘surprise twist’ you have had in your career to date?

The most unexpected turn in my career was securing a job in IT and Finance and then again transitioning from the realms of finance and IT to the Space and Earth Observation sector. This unexpected twist opened new doors and provided me with unique opportunities in a cutting-edge field.

6. Have you had a mentor or person that inspired you? How did they help you?

My father has been a significant inspiration in my life. His support, open-mindedness, interest in languages and cultures, and a balance of ambition and modesty have shaped my values and approach to life and work. His journey from a librarian in a South African Black University to working for the European Central Bank exemplifies the power of determination and adaptability.

7. What are the main things you do each day?

My daily routine involves extensive research, document writing, project follow-ups, and regular participation in meetings. These tasks collectively contribute to the efficiency and progress of my work.

8. What do you like best about the work that you do and what do you like least?

The collaborative nature of team projects and the research aspects of my work are what I enjoy the most. On the flip side, certain administrative or routine tasks might be less appealing, but they are essential for the overall success of projects.

9. Do you have ambitions or things that you would like to do next?

My aspirations include acquiring more technical training and potentially pursuing further studies to become a Compliance Officer. These ambitions align with my ongoing commitment to professional development and expanding my skill set.

10. What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

I would advise my 10-year-old self to care less about the opinions of others, concentrate on personal growth, and focus on continuous learning. These principles can empower individuals to build a strong foundation for their future endeavours.

Quick CV

  • Academic qualifications
    • Bachelors in Information and Communications 
    • Financial Studies Certification
  • Main or selected jobs to date:
    • Project Manager at adwäisEO (2022-2023)
    • IT Business Analyst/ Data Specialist/Data Operations – Assistant Director (2017 –2021)
    • IT Financial Product/Project Manager (2014 –2016)
    • Quality Control Specialist, IT Financial Products (2008) 

More EXPLORE Career Profiles

EXPLORE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.

EXPLORE Career Profiles: Javier Eduardo Suárez Valencia

EXPLORE Career Profiles

Name: Javier Eduardo Suárez Valencia
EXPLORE Project Role: Researcher on the L-EXPLO and L-HEX Lunar Scientific Data Applications
Professional Role and Affiliation: PhD Candidate in Planetary Science at Constructor University.
Nationality: Colombian
Current location: Bremen, Germany

1. What did you want to be when you were 10?

I wanted to be an astronaut, especially to go to different planets.

2. What was your favourite subject at school?


3. What did you study at university? Why did you choose those topics and the places to study?

Geology. I choose it because there was not an astronomy program in my country, and geology was still a really interesting natural science. Eventually, I was able to link the two

4. How did you get your first job? How many jobs have you had since?

My first job was as a risk management geologist, doing maps for a location in Colombia. Since then, I had two other jobs.

5. What’s been the biggest piece of luck or ‘surprise twist’ you have had in your career to date?

To start my PhD in Bremen Germany. I always worked in planetary science just for passion, but now I can make a living from it.

6. Have you had a mentor or person that inspired you? How did they help you?

Yes, another Colombian geologist, Fabian Saavedra. He showed me that we can study other planets – my professor did not have any idea of how to do that. 

7. What are the main things you do each day?

Working in my PhD, advising students in Colombia, reading.

8. What do you like best about the work that you do and what do you like least?

What I most enjoy is looking at spatial data of planetary surfaces to understand its geology. I do not enjoy debugging code!

9. Do you have ambitions or things that you would like to do next?

I want to be a university professor in a Colombian university.

10. What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

The Universe is big and full of wonders. No matter what happens do not lose your curiosity to learn from it!

Quick CV

  • Education
    • (2021-ongoing) PhD candidate in Planetary Science, Constructor University, Bremen, Germany.
    • (2015-2018) MSc in Geology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
    • (2010-2015) Geologist, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
  • Work
    • (2021-ongoing) Researcher, Constructor University, Bremen, Germany.
    • (2019-2021) Occasional professor, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.

More EXPLORE Career Profiles

EXPLORE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.

EXPLORE Career Profiles: Nick Cox

EXPLORE Career Profiles

Name: Nick Cox
EXPLORE Project Role: Project Manager
Professional Role and Affiliation: ACRI-ST, Research Engineer
Nationality: Dutch
Current location: Toulouse, France

1. What did you want to be when you were 10?

Already then, I was not very decided on what I wanted to be, and several professions caught my fancy,from being a chartered accountant (I liked numbers), an astronaut (the night sky was fascinating) to being a professional brick builder (the Danish kind of brick) 😉.

2. What was your favourite subject at school?

I don’t think I had a single favourite subject in high-school. I liked chemistry because of the hands-on experiments but also mathematics and economics (especially how it tried to capture the real world in numbers and equations). I also liked drawing and (practical) design to nurture my creative mind.

3. What did you study at university? Why did you choose those topics and the places to study?

After much deliberation I decided, at the last minute, to study astrophysics in Utrecht (Netherlands). At the time the curriculum in Utrecht was quite broad with electives in astronomy, geophysics, oceanography, computing, experimental physics, and physical chemistry. I also thought it would be challenging and give me good career prospects. Out of curiosity I did a minor in chemistry, but finally I chose to stick with astrophysics for my master’s degree.

4. How did you get your first job? How many jobs have you had since?

My first real job, after doing some temp work, was as a junior researcher/doctoral candidate. I wasn’t particularly looking to do a doctoral thesis when I stumbled upon a vacancy for an interesting research project (astronomy with a pinch of chemistry!). Since then I’ve had several academic jobs in Europe (notably Spain, Belgium, and France) before joining the company I work at currently.

5. What’s been the biggest piece of luck or ‘surprise twist’ you have had in your career to date?

After my doctoral thesis I was looking to stay in the Netherlands, and I applied for a fellowship at ESA/ESTEC (Netherlands). I did not get accepted for that position but was offered instead a position at ESA/ESAC near Madrid, Spain. This unexpected twist started my adventures abroad.

6. Have you had a mentor or person that inspired you? How did they help you?

Many persons inspired me throughout my academic journey. I have had amazing supervisors for my doctoral project, but also for my other academic posts. I learned different things from each of them, all making me a better scientist, but also a better teacher, and hopefully a better project manager 😉.

7. What are the main things you do each day?

I work mostly in the office, but I get to travel several times a year for project meetings or conferences (even though many meetings are now held online). Each day I typically spend some time to read and write emails, and do some admin. The larger part of the day I work on project tasks – with usually two or more projects running in parallel. Typical tasks are coding, data processing and analysis, writing and reviewing documents and articles, reading papers, preparing and holding meetings with colleagues, project partners and students.

8. What do you like best about the work that you do and what do you like least?

It is very gratifying to work on a code and, after many mistakes, make it work. I also like the travel part of the job, to see new cities and places, and meet colleagues/friends from all over the world. As a researcher / R&D engineer I’m continuously researching and learning new ideas and topics.

One of things that can be sometimes frustrating as a project manager is to need to chase people to answer questions or deliver inputs (but of course for the EXPLORE project this is never needed with all those amazing partners in the consortium 😉).

9. Do you have ambitions or things that you would like to do next?

For EXPLORE one of our ambitions is to further exploit the science platform we developed and to improve and create new scientific apps. Also, I’d like to create a start-up someday.

10. What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

Follow your heart, but don’t entirely ignore your brain, to learn and work on what you find most interesting. Don’t be afraid of change, dreams evolve with time.

Quick CV

  • MSc in physics & astrophysics
  • PhD in astrophysics (2006)
  • ESA Research Fellow at European Space Astronomy Centre (2007-2010)
  • Researcher for Herschel space mission at KU Leuven (2010-2014)
  • Researcher for the Nanocosmos project at University Paul Sabatier/CNRS (2015-2016)
  • Research & Development Engineer at ACRI-ST (2017-current)

More EXPLORE Career Profiles

16th European Space Conference, January 2024 – Registration is now open

The 16th European Space Conference will take place in Brussels, on 23-24 of january, 2024.

The conference will comprise several main sessions, punctuated by keynote addresses and one-to-one dialogues.

The focus will be placed on space economic security, autonomous access to space, the future of space connectivity, space commercialisation, the upcoming EU Space Law, the benefits of space services and applications supporting the Green Deal and SDGs.

In light of the unprecedented geopolitical context that Europe is facing, we will also debate the synergies between space and defence and the different ways forward for cooperation in the space domain with Europe’s partners across the world.

Specific sessions dedicated to targeted themes will host key personalities from the European space domain, including high-level representatives from EU institutionsMember States, the European Space Agency, national space agencies and the European industry.

To see the full programm and get your ticket, please follow the link.

Supporting UK and Hungarian Industry Collaborations

Supporting UK and Hungarian Industry Collaborations

Two overarching objectives of Europlanet are to foster industry-academic collaboration and to widen participation from under-represented states in Europe and around the world. Last week, there were opportunities to support both these aims at the UK Space Conference in Belfast and an event at the Hungarian Embassy in London.

At the UK Space Conference from 21-23 November, Europlanet shared a stand with the Hungarian Space Cluster (Hunspace). Over the course of the meeting, we met with many members of the UK and international community, in particular with early career researchers. We were particularly delighted to meet and take part in discussion sessions with the space clusters that represent the different space communities across the UK. Plenary sessions featured discussions on exploration of our Solar Sytem and the technical challenges involved.

On Friday 24 November, we were privileged to be hosted by the Hungarian Embassy in London for a meeting of the UK and Hungarian Space Communities. We were welcomed by Orsolya Ferencz, Ministerial Commissioner  Hungarian  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and by the Hungarian Ambassador to London, Ferenc Kumin. Nigel Mason (Europlanet 2024 RI Coordinator) and Zsolt Fulop (Chair of the research infrastructure committee in Hungary) kicked off proceedings. Tomas Barzy (Admatis) gave an overview of the Hunspace cluster’s membership, remit and history. Presentations by Hungarian and UK space industry and organisations were followed by a round-table discussion. Many thanks to Gábor Takács-Carvalho and all the team at the Hungarian Embassy for their hospitality.

Full reports on both events will be published soon.

Europlanet at Space Tech Expo Europe

Europlanet at Space Tech Expo Europe

The Europlanet Society participated for the first time in the Space Tech Expo Europe, which took place in Germany (Bremen) between 14-16 November 2023. Attending the event provided an opportunity not only to strengthen the Society’s presence on the European space scene, but also to highlight its commitment to innovation and technological development in the planetary exploration sector.

During the event, Europlanet organized eleven business-to-business sessions, and eighty-one presentations at the stand to share know-how with participants. The Society also took the opportunity to unveil its new sustainability project (Europlanet Association), as well as to showcase its achievements, share knowledge and establish strategic partnerships with other key players in the space industry.

Europlanet’s presence at the Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen was a great success, highlighting the society’s continued commitment to planetology exploration, exploitation and space innovation. This participation marks the start of a new era for Europlanet, opening the way to new opportunities, partnerships and achievements in the field of European planetology exploration and beyond.

ESA Space Summit: Ministers back Europe’s sustainable and competitive space ambitions

Europe will harness space for a greener future, take decisive steps in exploration, and ensure autonomous access to space while preparing a paradigm shift towards a more competitive next generation of launchers, following decisions taken on November 7th, 2023, at the ESA Space Summit in Seville.

Government ministers representing ESA’s Member States, Associate States and Cooperating States resolved together to strengthen Europe’s space ambitions to better serve European citizens.

Meanwhile ESA is modernising how it runs its programmes, speeding up its procurements and increasing its role as an anchor customer to commercial suppliers, while fostering the development of cutting-edge technologies and programmes.

Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General, said: “Space today is far more than space science, robotic and human exploration. Space has become strategic for the prosperity of any nation. Space policy is climate policy, industrial policy and security policy. It is a crucial tool for addressing global challenges. Space has become a topic at the global negotiation table. Europe must actively participate in this conversation.

Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, who chaired today’s ESA Council meeting at the Ministerial level, said: “Today, ESA Member States have reaffirmed their commitment to a strong ESA. By doing so, Member States have enabled the first steps towards innovative and competitive approaches that will revolutionise how Europe secures its future access to space as well as its role in exploration. A strong agency will also help to better use space to deal with climate change, benefiting everyone on Earth. I look forward to continuing along this promising path when the Member States meet for the ESA Council meeting at the Ministerial level in Germany in 2025.

Accelerating the use of space

Earth observation data from space was crucial to identifying climate change. ESA will now help Europe to move from monitoring to managing – and harness the use of space to pursue climate action, supporting national and European efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050.

Asserting Europe’s rightful place in the world

The world stands at a pivotal point in space exploration. Over the past few years, the landscape has changed fundamentally. It will evolve even more quickly in the years to come: a new economy is developing in low Earth orbit that will transform space exploration in the years following the retirement of the International Space Station; and private companies are revolutionising the landscape from launchers to exploration.

At the Space Summit, Ministers launched a competition between innovative companies based in Europe to deliver a space cargo return service that will see a European commercial provider deliver supplies to the International Space Station by 2028 and return cargo to Earth. The service vehicle could evolve to a crew vehicle and eventually serve other destinations, if Member States so desire.

Next steps

ESA will work in partnership with the EU to coordinate the European demand for space services, demonstrating ESA’s role as the agency at the heart of Europe’s space ambitions.

The Summit’s decisions were passed by a resolution informed by the ESA Director General’s proposal to lift Europe’s ambitions for a green and sustainable future, access to space and space exploration.

They represent a further important step towards the Council meeting at Ministerial level to be held in 2025. The ESA Director General will propose an “ESA 2040” strategy to be prepared together with ESA Member States, which will be ready in early 2024 to serve as a foundation for the 2025 meeting.

To read to full Article please follow the below link: https://www.esa.int/Newsroom/Press_Releases/Ministers_back_Europe_s_sustainable_and_competitive_space_ambitions

SpaceX inks landmark deal to launch European navigation satellites: Report

SpaceX has signed a contract to loft up to four of Europe’s Galileo navigation satellites over two launches in 2024.

The deal, which Elon Musk‘s company inked recently with the European Space Agency, calls for the Galileo satellites to launch atop Falcon 9 rockets from U.S. soil, is what the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday 23rd of October.

The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, along with EU member states, must still give final approval for the deal,” The Journal wrote. “That is likely to happen before the end of the year, officials said.

The upcoming missions will mark the first time that SpaceX launches EU satellites carrying classified equipment, The Journal noted, and the first time in 15 years that Galileo spacecraft launch from a non-European territory. (Recent missions have lifted off from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guyana.) 

To read the full article please follow the link.

Space Briefing: for young and grown-up space fans

On his latest space briefing, MEP Niklas Nienass presents the latest news on the subject of space, i.e. exciting news for space fans of all ages. 
As regards the young and young-at-heart space fans, Mr. Nienass states that he has just published a children’s book. He particularly states that, what is happening in space is often difficult to understand for children and non-experts. That’s why “Nikki will zum Mars” is the first children’s book about space in this format and the first children’s book that also explains space politics.
Further, after introducing the book at the Frankfurt Book Fair he gave it to the first experts, including UNOOSA Director Aarti Holla-Maini and ESA Director Josef Aschbacher, who, he can be spotted as a character in the book, in which he explains what the ESA is all about. 

Additionally, Josef Aschbacher is now the perfect transition to the news for the big space enthusiasts. That is why, he visited the ITRE Committee and reported on the implementation of the Union Space Programme from ESA’s perspective
Moreover, one of the topics discussed was Europe’s current lack of access to space. What was mentioned is that “we cannot carry on like this without independent access to space long-term. Regardless of how many innovative flagship projects we are creating in the EU on the ground. We cannot rely on launching all our projects with external rockets, but must strengthen the market with new procurement structures. This was also emphasised in the committee.
Following the above, Niklas Nienass mentioned the welcoming of the announcement to launch innovative and competitive solutions when it comes to awarding launches. And these are urgently needed. After all, the Commission wants to use SpaceX to launch two Galileo launches – i.e. safety-critical infrastructure – into orbit in the first half of 2024. 
Lastly, he advises whomever wants to know more about the current European space policy in “Nikki will zum Mars” and would like to receive a free copy (for now only in German) for themselves or as a gift, to send a message.

To see the full briefing, please follow the link below: https://niklas-nienass.eu/en/

The 3rd EUSPA HORIZON Call is now open

The new EUSPA Horizon Europe call is structured along 5 topics with a variable thematic span and objectives:

  • Develop commercial downstream solutions, based on synergies between the EU space programme components, for green, smart and more secure solutions addressing a variety of social and economic challenges;
  • Fulfill gaps in mature, regulated and long lead markets;
  • Develop new Copernicus-based applications for business and policy-makers;
  • Support the internationalization of Copernicus demonstrating the advantages and differentiators of EU space-based solutions outside of Europe;
  • Identify and address technological challenges related to the provision of GOVSATCOM services, improving operational terminals and demonstrating user access to early services.

The overall budget is 34,5 million. The deadline is on 14 February 2024.

For more information please follow the link.

Machine Learning for a new era of data-driven planetary science

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project looks at the many ways Machine Learning (ML) is revolutionising planetary science. The advent of Machine Learning (ML) has enabled a new approach, known as data-driven science. Using the wealth of datasets and streams available, ML can explore the data to find a pattern or commonality. Out of these initial steps comes a hypothesis that can be tested through data analysis, which, again, hopefully leads to a new understanding. Clustering or fusing datasets, moreover, can reveal connections that are not recognisable in the individual datasets.

The Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure is a €10m project, funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, that supports the planetary science community. The project’s core activities are to provide access to facilities, field sites, and data services.

However, Europlanet also provides investment through ‘Joint Research Activities’ that combine the expertise of multiple partners to create the new infrastructure and services needed to carry out world-leading planetary research. Since 2020, the project has developed ML tools to handle complex planetary science data more efficiently and provide opportunities to combine and visualise multiple diverse datasets. This programme has been further enhanced through a collaboration with a second Horizon 2020 project, EXPLORE, which is developing applications for the exploitation of galactic, stellar and lunar data, and provides a platform for deploying and testing ML tools and services.

Further, Europlanet’s ML-powered tools are based on scientific cases proposed by the community that address key challenges in planetary research. From these proposals, seven cases were chosen to follow up initially during the project, and further cases have been added over time. All the tools are open-source, ready-to-use, and highly customisable, enabling other researchers to freely deploy and adapt them for their own research scenarios.

Lastly, it should be noted that, by developing ML tools tailored to data-driven planetary science, Europlanet has cemented collaborations, started to build new user communities and developed services that are already resulting in publications. While the planetary science community could be seen as late to the party in adopting ML, interest is now high. This couldn’t be more timely – with flagship missions to Mercury and Jupiter soon adding to the deluge of data streams, the era of data-driven science is only just beginning.

Europlanet 2024 RI and EXPLORE have received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements No. 871149 and No. 101004214, respectively.

Please follow the link here to read to entire article.

Opinion: As space exploration and colonization expand, off-Earth resources will create a booming market

With advances in space technology, we’re on the edge of the next gold rush—but not on Earth. Based on recent scientific and engineering breakthroughs and commercial interests, off-Earth mining is expected to begin in the next decade.

The motivation for off-Earth mining is multifaceted: access to an unlimited wealth of valuable space resources, the spirit of discovering new planets and the development of spin-off technologies to be used back on Earth.

However, off-Earth mining has many challenges: there are geological uncertainties—we don’t know exactly where the water is and how much there is; infrastructural needs such as landing pads; social considerations—people have a strong emotional attachment to the moon; and financial constraints, with high risk but high potential return.

Looking toward the future, the mining industry is working towards zero-entry mines (with no human access required) and invisible mines (low-impact, reduced-footprint mining sites) to reduce the effect on the environment, improve energy efficiency and achieve decarbonization.

Improved social acceptance and reputation are also critical for the mining industry’s future. The space resources industry is motivated by colonization and creating a market for its product.

The mining and space sectors both thrive in challenging environments, making collaboration essential. They can mutually benefit, with the mining sector gaining from systems engineering and autonomous technology, while space can leverage operational experience and market creation.

The path ahead is loaded with uncertainties, but merging mining knowledge with space exploration will be paramount in the years ahead.

Follow the link to read the full opinion.

Space Briefing: Space sustainability must take centre stage

In his latest post, MEP Niklas Nienass is discussing space sustainability. The theme was illustrated in multiple ways, such as (a) at the exhibition entitled “Out of sight-out of mind?” featuring artwork by British photographer Max Alexander, (b) at the Space Dinner that followed, as well as, (c) at the Space Forum. 

At the exhibition opening in early July, the speakers emphasized how important it is to discuss space sustainability publicly. Aarti Holla-Maini (soon to be Director of UNOOSA) and Sara Lucatello (Vice-President European Astronomical Society) explained there is a global need to catch up on this issue. The subsequent panel discussion with Sara Lucatello, John Janka (Chief Officer, Global Government Affairs & Regulatory at Viasat Inc.) and Nikas Nienass focused on how space debris will jeopardize future space projects – with consequences for our infrastructure. As Sara Lucatello said, “The proliferation of satellites and space debris significantly limits our ability to explore and develop space” And John Janka added “Politicians must act now. I am enthused that there are initiatives like the European Space Law that address this challenge”. 

Further, at the Space Dinner, the topic of space sustainability was at the top of the agenda as well. At the dinner, which was hosted by Mr. Niklass and GSOA (Global Satellite Operators Association), particular emphasis was placed on the criteria for a leading role for Europe in the sustainable development of space and the budgets and policies required for achieving this. What became clear is that space sustainability must take center stage – but we also need to be bolder, more innovative, and create space for the innovative SMEs and start-ups to flourish. That can only be achieved through European cooperation. 

What is more, the need for European cooperation was addressed during the panel discussion at the Space Forum as well. It is noted that space is being used up as quickly as possible, without limits. Given that, we shall need clear rules, which can be achieved with the implementation of the European Space Law Initiative.

Additionally, MEP Niklas Nienass mentioned that clear limits are being set for the funding of the European Space Programme. Specifically, COPERNICUS is currently €721 million short, and it is still unclear whether this gap will be covered, or by whom. Negotiations have recently taken place with Great Britain, but it is already certain that they alone will not pay for the remaining amount. If the member states do not find a common denominator in the negotiations, COPERNICUS will be shut down for years. Mr. Niklass stated that we also need COPERNICUS to monitor climate change, atmospheric fluctuations and natural disasters, the reason why he is advocating for a hearing on COPERNICUS in committee after the summer break. 

Consequently, he stated that on Wednesday 19 July 2023 the implementation of IRIS is on the agenda including proposals in the field of sustainability. 

For more information about the live streaming, please follow the link.

Space Briefing: Space debris becomes a problem

According to his latest post, MEP Niklass Nienass, through an upcoming exhibition on space debris, is trying to give the topic of space debris a public platform. Based on his statement “what happens up there far away from us is reminiscent of the Wild West. And it affects our everyday lives more than many people think”.

It should be noted that in the international Space Race, the big players compete for the best innovations, for the biggest projects. What happens to satellites or rocket parts afterwards hardly matters. There are now 130 million tiny parts in space. Between 2018 and 2030, the number of active satellites is expected to rise from 2,000 to 100,000 – after their mission they’ll become space junk.

However, the problem with this infinite space is that things can get tight very quickly. Since 1999, the ISS and its astronauts have had to correct course 32 times to avoid collisions, Mr. Nienass said. Retired satellites can cause critical infrastructure to fail through collisions with active satellites. 

Further, it is true, that space debris can come to us: Ten years ago, a retired Soviet satellite crashed in Hudson Bay over Canada. Such unburned parts can, in the worst case, hit areas of high population density. 

To this end, Mr. Nienass makes the following questions: Do we really want to be so wasteful with our raw materials? Rare earths that are supposed to be useless after the Space Project? We need better solutions. Approaches already exist on how to better locate decommissioned satellites. And space waste collection: from 2025, ESA wants to use satellites to collect waste in space. We need more of that.

Official answers can get through the European space law establishment. This should oblige all space players to consider the sustainability and disposal of satellites and rockets in their projects. This law should then set standards worldwide – so that the Wild West in space comes to an end. 

Find the full statement on the website: https://niklas-nienass.eu/

Space Briefing: New Position Paper in the Bundestag

Based on a recent post published by MEP, Mr. Niklas Nienass, it is noted that the SPD parliamentary group in the German Bundestag published a position paper (German) on Germany’s role in space.

It is highlighted that the spaceflight is increasingly considered as a political issue in Germany — especially since the paper offers a number of promising approaches. Among other issues, it states that:

  • the German government should advocate common standards and binding rules at European and international level and begin work on a national space law;
  • the German government should support the further integration of European spaceflight, assume responsibility in existing and emerging European space institutions, and constructively support the legislative process for an EU space law in the Council;
  • the development of a Space Traffic Management is necessary and safety in orbit must be ensured by researching and regulating the disposal of space debris. The according EU initiative is welcomed.

Mr. Nienass states that it is a good sign that the SPD parliamentary group is looking at German spaceflight from a decidedly European and international perspective. 

He also comments that “In Europe, with the structure of ESA and national space organizations, we have a space landscape that is unique in the world. I am convinced that this diversity makes us strong. Germany plays a leading role in European and international spaceflight — and should also co-shape the international regulatory discourse accordingly. Common rules and standards are necessary to strengthen European spaceflight in the long term”.

Please find the full paper (in German) here.

The European Space Forum 2023

The European Space Forum will return to Brussels in 5 to 6 July, 2023, and will once again bring together key stakeholders and thought leaders for 2 full days of face-to-face debate. Focusing on the key pillars of security & defence, sustainability, competition, innovation and connectivity, the event will provide the opportunity to come together and discuss key challenges and opportunities as Europe looks to deliver on its space ambitions and secure its position as a strong and resilient leader in the global space market.

Key themes this year:

  • The EU Space & Defence strategy
  • Sustainability and safety of space operations
  • Space funding and investment in an uncertain world
  • The role of the EU in international space policy
  • IRIS² & Secure space based connectivity
  • Supporting SDGs through space
  • Delivering a competitive and innovative EU space sector

For more information on any aspect of this event please access the link here.