EU Space Week kicks off in Seville

EU Space Week kicks off in Seville

Top EU policymakers, space industry actors and entrepreneurs from all walks of life convene in Sevilla, Spain to share knowledge and experiences on how businesses, governments, and society at large benefit from the EU Space Programme and its existing components, Galileo, EGNOS, Copernicus but also new ones such as GOVSATCOM and IRIS2. 

Key themes in the 2023 edition of the conference are the use of space technology in our quest to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and the importance of satellite services to shield Europe’s security and autonomy.   

Autonomy and security for the Union

During the inaugural ceremony of the EU Space Week, Spanish Minister for Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, highlighted the crucial role of space in spurring innovation across all sectors of the economy: ‘’Space innovation plays a key role in solving some of our greatest challenges as a society, such as climate emergency. Space also ensures the autonomy of the Union and its Member States.’’

Director General for Defence Industry and Space at the European Commission, Timo Pesonen, reiterated the Union’s commitments to strengthening the resilience of its space infrastructures. “The space sector is undergoing a massive transformation. To maintain the leadership of Europe, we must rethink our resilience, our technological non-dependence and our business models. We need to consolidate and evolve our space assets.”

Eyes on 2035 

During a roundtable discussion, top executives from the European Commission, EUSPA, the Spanish Space Agency and ESA shared their vision regarding the evolution of the EU Space Programme and the industry by 2035.

The Director of the Spanish Space Agency, Miguel Belló, said that Spain will continue contributing to the Programme by supporting future Copernicus missions and the upcoming satellite communications constellation IRIS2 and by working on developing more advanced surveillance systems which will be used for the European Space Surveillance and Tracking.

When asked what the key ingredient for the EU Space Programme is to be successful, Director-General for Defence Industry and Space, Timo Pesonen highlighted competitiveness. The Space sector is undergoing a massive transformation. To maintain the leadership of Europe, we must rethink our resilience, our technological non-dependence and business models,’’ he said

Present at the roundtable were EUSPA Executive Director, Rodrigo da Costa, and Director General of the European Space Agency Josef Aschbacher.

Staying true to the mission of the agency he leads, da Costa said that “adaptability is what will make the EU Space Programme and its various components evolve and deliver cutting edge space-based services. This can only be achieved through continuous dialogue with the users.”

“Europe has realised the importance of the New Space economy which is projected to reach 1 trillion dollars by the year 2040. By 2035, I expect to see much bigger changes in the area of launchers among others,” said Josef Aschbacher. ‘’Europe should develop innovative launchers able to carry various payloads he concluded.’’  

New Space actors to the front! 

As the global economy continues its multifaceted transformation, so does Europe’s space economy throughout its full value chain, upstream, midstream and downstream. A dedicated session called ‘’Interactive Discussion with Inspiring Entrepreneurs and Innovators’’ brought to the fore milestones achieved by the vibrant European New Space economy.

Space safety is becoming critical as the number of satellites in orbit grows exponentially. New space companies like Vyoma are now more and more contributing to the management of the space traffic caused either by debris or by functioning satellites. As Luisa Buinhas explained, Vyoma is looking to develop in-orbit optical telescopes to observe space objects and map the orbital environment at a high frequency, thus providing SSA data and services with near-zero latency. 

In the area of micro-launchers, Europe made a significant leap with the launch of Miura-1 a suborbital launch vehicle, privately developed. As Raul Verdu explained “micro launchers in reshaping the European launchers industry but also are democratising access to space.’’

Orbify CEO Jakub Dziwisz praised the role of the CASSINI Business Accelerator and other EUSPA funding initiatives in giving start-ups the necessary tools to upscale. As Dziwisz explained his company automates the analysis of satellite imagery through AI and ML models to streamline the measurement and assessment of natural assets, providing environmental insights within a few clicks.

Another highlight of the day was an inspirational speech by Laia Romero, Co-founder and CEO of Lobelia Earth who emphasised the importance of Earth Observation in addressing climate change. 

We’re just getting started! 

EU Space Week day No2 is going to be a packed one so better get some rest!

Be sure to tune in tomorrow for an agenda that includes among others “New Ways of Doing Space’’, “Space 4 EU Green Deal’’ award ceremonies and networking events.

Could not make it to Spain? You can always participate online and network with other virtual participants through our interactive platform.  

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