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.

The 16th European Space Conference: A Confluence of Ideas, Innovation, and Policy

Space Industry Leaders, Policy Makers, and Enthusiasts,

We are thrilled to extend an invitation to the 16th European Space Conference, the premier event in the space industry calendar. Scheduled for 23-24 January 2024, this pivotal conference will be held at the SQUARE Brussels, with an option to participate online for those unable to join us in person.

Dynamic Programme of the Conference – 23 January 2024:

The first day of the conference promises a rich tapestry of sessions, keynotes, and dialogues, meticulously designed to catalyze progress in European space policy and industry.

  1. Main Sessions: Delve into a series of comprehensive sessions covering a wide array of topics at the forefront of space technology and policy. These sessions are crafted to reflect the current challenges and opportunities in the space sector.
  2. Keynote Addresses: Be inspired by a lineup of distinguished speakers. These keynote addresses will be delivered by prominent figures in the space industry, offering profound insights into the future of space exploration and technology.
  3. One-to-One Dialogues: Witness engaging and insightful one-to-one dialogues between key personalities from various facets of the space domain. These intimate conversations are designed to provide deeper understanding and diverse perspectives on pressing space issues.
  4. Targeted Theme Sessions: Participate in specific sessions focusing on targeted themes. These discussions will feature key personalities from the European space domain, including high-level representatives from EU institutions, Member States, the European Space Agency, national space agencies, and the European industry.
  5. Networking Opportunities: Connect with industry peers, policy makers, and space enthusiasts. Exchange ideas, forge new partnerships, and collaborate with experts and innovators from across the globe.
  6. Exhibitions: Explore a range of exhibits showcasing cutting-edge space technologies and services, presented by leading companies and emerging startups in the space sector.

This year’s European Space Conference is not just a gathering; it’s a crucible where ideas meet innovation, and policy meets practice. Your presence will contribute significantly to shaping the European space policy landscape for years to come.

Registration and Additional Information:

For more details on the event, registration, speakers, and accommodations, please visit the website.

EUSPA Space Downstream Innovation Day

21 November 2023 @ 8:00 am 5:00 pm UTC+1

The EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) plays a crucial role in supporting the EU Space industry throughout the innovation cycle, providing funding and market intelligence. Horizon Europe is one of the notable tools that EUSPA uses to support the adoption of the EU Space Programme and the development of the European space downstream industry.

The event will offer:

  • The most recent developments on the EU Space Programme
  • Deep dive on new EUSPA’s Horizon Europe call, which pulls together an investment of 34.5 million EUR to build commercial downstream applications based on Copernicus, EGNSS, and further develop GOVSATCOM service demonstrations
  • See results and explore new opportunities with EUSPA’s Fundamental Elements Programme
  • What’s new in CASSINI initiative

Apart from obtaining up-to-date information for all EUSPA innovation tools, you will have a unique opportunity to connect and network with aspiring entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs, since the event will include brokerage and pitching sessions.

The event is highly welcoming businesses and policy-makers.

For registration process please follow the link.

Veletržní 1502/20, 170 00 Praha 7-Holešovice

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.

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.

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.

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.

Space for Island Nations Conference 2023

The world’s first “Space for Island Nations” conference is set to take place in Crossroads Maldives, from May 2nd to May 5th, 2023. This event will bring together international space companies, policymakers from island nations and NGOs alongside experts in climate science and environmental management. It is the first ever space conference focused on Island Nations and the Maldives as a host country.

SINC 2023 is hosted by the Maldives Space Research Organisation (MSRO), as the first space organisation dedicated to the research and development of the space sector in the Maldives.

Register your interest now https://lnkd.in/e5WFhrZ7

European Astronautical Capacities

Following the International Women’s Day, the premises of the European Parliament warmly welcomed ESA’s astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti as a guest, while her speech, as of the first female European ISS commander, was an inspiring event!

MEP Niklas Nienass had the pleasure to exchange views on how to further increase the number of women in STEM professions — especially in the space sector. It should be noted, that Director General Josef Aschbacher is proactively leading the way at ESA in this matter.

Further to the event, the future of European spaceflight was also on the agenda. Samantha’s dream was to launch into space on a European rocket one day. It is true, that Europe needs a strong voice in space — and as MEP Nienass said, “we must be able to live up to our political vision technologically. Europe needs the ability to fly humans into space on its own“. 

These issues were also advocated by a high-level advisory body appointed by ESA. In their newly published report, the experts propose that Europe further expands its capacities in orbital and lunar spaceflight — both in terms of robotic and human missions. Among other things, they discuss the possibility of a commercial European Space Station in LEO and a permanent European presence on the Moon.

MEP’s Nienass view is to continue to rely on international cooperation in space — and at the same time strengthen our autonomy with sufficient investments.

Please read further on the site: https://niklas-nienass.eu/

ERIM / EPEC Annual Week 2023 – Registration Now Open

Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM)/Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week 2023 – Registration Now Open

The first Europlanet Research Infrastructure Meeting (ERIM), co-hosted with the fifth Europlanet Early Career (EPEC) Annual Week, will take place from 19-23 June 2023 in hybrid format at the Hotel Sorea / Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia and online. 

Registration is free and accommodation and travel support is available for participants. 

Registration is now open.

Deadline for on-site registration: 19 May 2023

Deadline for virtual registration: 16 June 2023

About ERIM

ERIM is a new kind of meeting to support European planetary science and associated communities. The format of ERIM 2023 is a series of interactive workshops related to the activities of the Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure (RI) project, research infrastructures in general, and the Europlanet Society. The meeting will be co-hosted with EPEC Annual Week 2023, the training school for the Europlanet Early Career Network. 

How will it Work?

Workshops will be organised under a series of programme tracks. You can dip in and out of programme tracks, workshops and even sessions during the week. The aim is to make new connections, brainstorm ideas, develop synergies, increase opportunities for collaboration and help us build a strong, thriving, sustainable community for planetary science in Europe.

You don’t have to be a member of the Europlanet Society or the Europlanet 2024 RI project to participate in ERIM. We are looking for new people to engage with Europlanet, so everyone is welcome. However, we will be offering free accommodation and travel grants to a limited number (~150) of participants. If we are over-subscribed in requests for support, priority will be given to Europlanet Society members. (Find out about other benefits of joining the Europlanet Society).


Many different topics will be covered within the ERIM programme tracks and workshops, including:

For full details of the meeting and registration, see: https://www.europlanet-society.org/erim2023/

If you have any questions, contact us.

We hope to see you in Bratislava!

The ERIM 2023 Organising Committee

Space Briefing: SpaceX in Ukraine

In his latest statement, Niklas Nienaß, MEP, commented on how risky the involvement of private companies in war zones is, mentioning also that this raises political questions regarding the privatisation of spaceflight.

More specifically, Niklas Nienaß stated that “whether or not combat drones controlled via Western services should be deployed in Ukraine is a difficult question that needs to be carefully evaluated. In the end, however, it should not be companies or private individuals who decide, but democratically legitimized representatives of the people“.

Further he pointed out that the privatization of spaceflight has unleashed immense innovation over the past decade, from which we will all benefit, calling for taking also regulatory action.

What is more, Niklas Nienaß said that international rules and competition are needed in order to prevent monopolies and dangerous concentrations of power. At the same time, democratic actors need to work on building their own technologies. 

Given that Europe is now gaining momentum, with IRIS², Mr. Nienaß lastly mentioned that “we are building our own technological capacities” and, therefore, “now we need to create a blueprint for future international regulation with a European Space Law!

Please see the full statement on the site here.

Space Briefing: At the European Space Conference

Following the success of the European Space Conference that was held from 23-24 January, MEP Niklas Nienass in his recent article highlighted the main outcomes, such as boosting the international understanding and cooperation, as well as concerns for Europe’s space autonomy, namely the technological autonomy, providing that “I am convinced that Europe should play a leading role in space – as a strong voice for peace, freedom and research. We must be able to live up to this political claim with our own technology”.

Further, he drew special attention to the topic of sustainability, by welcoming the fact “that the industry is now proactively setting the tone here. I hope that in the future the general public will also become more aware of the importance of spaceflight in the fight against climate change“.

With regard to his topic at the conference, MEP Niklas Nienass stressed the importance for a European Space Law, which is needed for future technologies, and that a “secure legal framework will strengthen industry, including new companies in this sector“.

Moreover, he emphasized on the importance of the new planned European constellation IRIS2, stating that it has “real added value for citizens. This means secure communication in times of crisis and better internet coverage across Europe“.

Lastly, he mentioned that “the final vote on the constellation in plenary is planned for 14th February. I am very pleased that after hard negotiations we have a project on the table that I can recommend to my group for approval without reservation. However, I will continue to follow the project critically and will particularly advocate the involvement of SMEs and start-ups“.

Please find his space agenda on the link below: https://niklas-nienass.eu/en/space/

Lack of space transportation ‘a huge problem’ for Europe

In an annual press conference on the year ahead, held on 23 January, ESA’s director-general Josef Aschbacher detailed a spate of technical and political challenges that are severely hampering Europe’s ability to launch satellites and other craft. Among these are the loss of European access to Russia’s Soyuz rockets, because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the European responses to it. “That means that as of mid this year, we do not have guaranteed access to space for use of our European launchers, and this is a huge problem for us, for all of us” Aschbacher said.

Vega-C and Ariane 6

In addition to the Russian freeze-out, ESA has suffered several technical launch failures since 2019, Aschbacher reminded the press. Last year, the inaugural flight of the Vega-C rocket went off without a hitch in July, but in December another Vega-C mission ended in failure and the destruction of the launcher after a sudden decrease in pressure, the cause of which is still being investigated.

Aschbacher said the agency was taking “several measures…to make sure we put everything on the management side on track to proceed and advance as quick as we can” with improving European access to space. As well as the work on Vega-C and Ariane 6, he said ESA would support the development of small, mini or micro-European launchers, capable of lofting payloads of up to one ton. ESA is exploring the use of a competition to launch payloads with such launchers, he said. But more generally on the transportation problems, he warned: “We need to really work on this to get back, to guarantee access to space for Europe again.”

Find out more info on the following link: https://www.researchprofessionalnews.com/rr-news-europe-infrastructure-2023-1-lack-of-space-transportation-a-huge-problem-for-europe/