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!“
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“.
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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.”
According to latest news, Europe invests to space activities, given that ESA’s budget will be 16,9 billion euros, namely 17% more than the previous three-year budget.
Further, new programs are to be launched in the areas of exploration and satellite navigation, among others. Germany’s ESA contribution of 3.5 billion euros is higher than the previous contribution of 3.3 billion euros. Moreover, Germany remains the largest ESA contributor.
In addition to the newly approved annual ESA budget of approximately 5.6 billion euros, Europe will invest 2.1 billion euros through the EU budget and approximately 4 – 6 billion euros annually through the individual EU member states, for a total of around 11.7 – 13.7 billion euros. By comparison, the U.S. is spending 24 billion euros on NASA this year alone.
Based on this development, Mr. Niklas Nienass, MEP, commented that space is the sector of the future, while infrastructures in space are becoming extremely important for life on earth. Additionally, he stated that public and private investment is the chance for the forefront of space travel in the future. Furthermore, Niklas Nienass also recognized the German ESA contribution with regard to the budget increase as wise for the the beginning of Germany’s three-year presidency of the ESA Ministerial Council Conference.
You can find the presentation from ESA regarding the agreement here.
On 17 November, EU lawmakers reached a preliminary political agreement on the new European Satellite Constellation for Secure Connectivity. Alongside the Earth observation program Copernicus and the navigation program Galileo, IRIS will become the EU’s third strategic space infrastructure. It should be noted that IRIS will be a multi-orbital satellite constellation providing connectivity, making European infrastructure more resilient and independent of third parties.
MEP Niklas Nienass stated that “satellite-based communication services play an important role in case of crisis. That is why it is good that the EU will build up its own infrastructure.” Moreover, it was provided that the need is to “consciously use of small and medium-sized New-Space companies and their innovative strength”.
Please find more information about the IRIS EU Secure Satellite Constellation here.
The Space Traffic Management Dinner Debate will be held on the 9th of November and is part of Friends of Europe’s Making Space Matter initiative, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).
The race to space globally is crowding our planet’s orbit. Lower thresholds to enter the space means that more actors than ever before are competing to put their satellites into orbit. Private sector players, such as Bezos and Musk, are leading the way. In the absence of the ‘rules of the road’ in outer space, the congestion of space threatens the viability of infrastructure and operations. This is significant considering the security challenges and global geopolitical tensions that characterise the space race: the creation of space forces in China and the United States are two cases in point. Despite signs of political cooperation, notably between China and Europe, the default position in space is to protect national interests in an environment that is fundamentally uncertain and unpredictable. The overcrowding of space gives little room for errors and miscalculations, which in such a high-stake geopolitical context, can quickly escalate into open conflict.
In addition to the thousands of satellites operating under the watch of nation states, private companies and citizens, there are now over a million debris of at least 1cm orbiting around the Earth and threatening to damage space infrastructures and equipment.
The key role of the involvement of several actors like the Member States, significant stakeholders and close coordination between national and international government and commercial entities from the outset will support this path, concluding to an advanced policy framework, which is developing very slowly.
To this end, there is a need for a coherent set of technical and regulatory provisions that will ensure that the access, the activities and the return outer space are safe and sustainable.
Following the first Making Space Matter Summit, this invite-only dinner debate will look more closely at the importance of urgently tackling STM and the role that the EU plays at a global level.
After the landslide adoption of the position on the Secure Connectivity Programme in the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), the Rapporteur GRUDLER (Renew) and Shadow Rapporteurs SALINI (EPP), HRISTOV (S&D), NIENAß (Greens/EFA) and TOŠENOVSKÝ (ECR) are ready for a swift negotiation regarding this new Programme.
MEPs send a strong signal with the adoption of their position on the Secure Connectivity Programme:
“Less than 7 months after its introduction by the European Commission, the European Parliament is now ready to engage in negotiations with the Council for an ambitious Programme, that should strongly reinforce the European strategic autonomy. If the ITRE Committee mandate for inter-institutional negotiations is not challenged, the European Parliament position will be considered as formally adopted next week during the plenary session in Strasbourg. After Copernicus (Earth Observation), Galileo/EGNOSS (Satellite Navigation), and Space Situational Awareness, it is high time for the European Union to build the 4th pillar of its space policy. We are committed to make it a success.”
The HORIZON R&D partnership, involving five industry organizations representing the whole supply chain, was launched in June 2021 along with other eleven research partnerships. However, long-standing strategic and political interests relating to space got in the way and Member States opposed the partnership. Following that, the Commission had to renegotiate.
This has resulted in a reduction of the scope, with the partnership now limited to the three areas of commercial telecoms, earth observation, and future space ecosystems.
What is more, the budget has been drastically reduced, from an initial €1.4 to €2 billion to €150 million for three years. With a new budget and smaller scope, partners now need to prepare a new strategic document for the partnership to replace the previous, more ambitious one, not an easy task though.
More than 100 RI projects in all fields of science have been or are currently funded by the European Commission INFRAIA scheme, either as “starting” or “advanced” communities. We propose to showcase different avenues for addressing the sustainability of these RI projects and their services. In addition, more mature and consolidated RIs will be invited to exchange experiences in a co-creation session in a mutual learning process. The outcomes of this event will support and guide RI projects from various fields when exploring potential sustainability alternatives.
The first session will feature short presentations from participating RI projects highlighting their approaches to sustainability.
It will be followed by co-creation and mutual learning exercise addressing the three topics.
We will conclude by a roundtable discussion summarizing the outcomes of the co-creation session, lessons learned and way forward.
19 October 2022
21 October 2022
5:00 pm UTC+1
Every two years since 2012, ICRI has hosted about 500 delegates, who discuss topics concerning research infrastructures on the international level. The venue alternates between the EU and third countries, and the event is organised jointly by the European Commission and the host country. The upcoming ICRI in 2022 will take place in Brno, Czech Republic.
The yearly high-level gathering of the key stakeholders of the European space domain will return early in 2023 for two days of dynamic and thought-provoking debates and exchanges. This conference highlights new edition of high-level debates, networking and matchmaking between decision makers, industry representatives and entrepreneurs from the European space domain!
The debates set to be held during this two-day conference will deal with key topics, including but not limited to the Secure Connectivity initative, Space Traffic Management, Space and Cybersecurity, and of course the ever-growing link between Space and Defence.
Other key aspects, such as exploration, international cooperation, the strengthening of industrial value chains, as well as sustainability and circular economy in the space domain will also be discussed during the conference.
MEP Niklas Nienass recently expressed his opinion about the momentum the debate on the planned European megaconstellation (“Secure Connectivity System”) is gaining. His main concerns are focused, inter alia, in three points. In the first place, he mentioned his concern about the achievement of affordable prices as regards the satellite-based Internet to weak regions. Next, he pointed out his concentration on a substantive development of a European New Space Economy. Lastly, he stated his concern about the timeline, providing that 2027 instead of 2024 should allow the EU to accurately determine the actual needs of Member States and shape the development accordingly.
Find his full statement and his report from his trip to the USA here.
Friends of Europe’s Making Space Matter Summit in June 2022 will provide an alternative platform to discuss space matters and making space matter.
Space exploration, capacity, competition, infrastructure, and its role as a new market and security domain will prove to be defining issues for our planet over the next decade and beyond. Space has the potential to reap huge rewards for social good, progress in terms of our common digital future and ability to mitigate and manage the impact of climate change. Every aspect of our lives, and every policy, has the potential to be impacted by the way Europe and its partners approach the new questions of space. Satellites in particular, and the wider role of space as a new frontier of intelligence and real time situational awareness, will increasingly be an important facet of current crises and future conflicts.
The summit will take place on Monday, 20 June, from 10.45 – 18.00 in Brussels. We look forward to welcoming you.
The Co-chairs, Local Organising Committee and Programme Committee of the 7th World Conference on Research Integrity was pleased to welcome delegates to Cape Town in 2022!
The 7th World Conference on Research Integrity was held from 29 May – 1 June 2022. The theme of the Conference was “Fostering Research Integrity in an Unequal World”. The 7th WCRI was interesting and relevant to Research Integrity stakeholders across all disciplinary fields from the basic and applied natural and biomedical sciences to the humanities and social sciences. Important RI stakeholders included researchers, institutional leaders, national and international policymakers, funders and journals.
The discussion areas at the conference were focused to Research Integrity as a driver of research excellence and public trust, ethical best practice in authorship, publication and the use of research metricsas well as responding to research misconduct. Most notably, an additional emerging subtheme was referred to ensuring research integrity in the context of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The European Astronomical Society Annual Meeting will take place in Valencia, Spain, on 27 June – 1 July 2022. The meeting is organized by the European Astronomical Society (EAS), in collaboration with the Spanish Astronomical Society (SEA). The venue is the Valencia Conference Centre.
A broad range of parallel sessions can be accommodated as:
(A) Symposia which normally consist of up to 6 blocks of 1.5 hours, stretching over 2 days, although exceptionally and in well-justified cases these symposia can be longer, (B) Special Sessions consisting of up to 3 blocks of 1.5 hours on the same day. (C) Lunch Sessions taking place during the lunch break for 1-1.5 hours on one day. (D) Special Sessions with a Lunch Session combining the blocks during parallel sessions and a session during the lunch break on one day.
Forming and Exploring Habitable Worlds is a multi-discipline four to five day international meeting taking place in Edinburgh, UK, in November 2022. This event is to accommodate up to 120 in-person delegates of all career stages based in a range of relevant employment sectors. A hybrid model is envisaged to be delivered so as to broaden participation by accommodating virtual attendance of additional delegates.
The welcoming atmosphere of this modest-sized event will foster friendly scientific exchange and shall help to promote networking beneficial to early, mid, and senior career scientists, space lawyers, educators, and space technology / mission innovators. Students and those in their early-careers are encouraged to attend and contribute their work in this friendly, relatively unintimidating, and specialist gathering. We are especially keen to welcome and promote contributions among people of under-represented groups.
The IAF General Assembly selected Paris, France as Host City for IAC 2021 on Friday 5 October. The Hosting Organization is the Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), a member of IAF since 1981. Paris hosted the first IAC ever in 1950, then in 1963 and lastly in 1982 and now will be holding the record of the city with most IACs hosted. Following the growing escalation of the Covid-19 outbreak around the world, the IAF has been forced to re-assess the overall schedule of IACs. On Wednesday 3 June 2020, an extraordinary session of the Bureau of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) was chaired by Pascale Ehrenfreund, IAF President. The Bureau reviewed the calendar of the forthcoming editions of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in light of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown. Paris, France will now host the IAC on 18 – 22 September 2022.
The IAC 2022 theme will be Space for @ll to reach beyond the space community and bringing together all communities to offer great opportunities for networking and forging new contacts and potential partnerships. Exceptionally, the IAC 2022 will be from Sunday till Thursday
You are cordially invited to attend the 85th Annual Meeting of The Meteoritical Society, which will take place between the 14th and the 19th of August 2022, at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, Scotland. The meeting is an excellent opportunity to present and discuss your research and learn about the state-of-the-art advancements in our fields. We will be hosting a hybrid conference, with options for both in-person and online registration available. It has been a long time coming, so we hope to make this a MetSoc to remember!
Oral and poster sessions, plenary sessions, and the Barringer Invitational Lecture, will take place within the Loch Suite of the Scottish Event Campus: https://www.sec.co.uk/organise-an-event/event-spaces/loch-suite
The International Society for Extremophiles, and the Hellenic National Initiative “Mikrobiokosmos” are pleased to announce the 13th International Congress on Extremophiles (Extremophiles2022). The venue will be held at the Club Hotel Casino Loutraki from the 18 to 22 of September, 2022, in Loutraki (80 km from Athens, GREECE).
The Extremophiles2022 Congress, aims to bring into light all recent updates of basic and applied research on “life in extreme environments”. As a result, the program will include sessions in many aspects of “extremophilic research” including, among others, origin of life, ecology, astrobiology, molecular biology, physiology and biotechnology, as well as a special workshop on Mikrobiokosmos (the Hellenic Initiative for Microbial Diversity).
In parallel, the organizers aspire for Extremophiles2022 to provide a stimulus for high quality research interactions, to inspire young scientists and students through networking with senior and established scientists, and to pave the way for a bright future in this exciting field.
We kindly invite you to participate in Extremophiles2022 and enjoy
a stimulating Congress
a vivid and scenic spa resort town by the sea
the famous Greek hospitality and cuisine
We particularly encourage young researchers to join and present their work.