The European Space Forum 2022 examined the innovative programmes, initiatives and policies being put forward. Across two days, 60 speakers, 280 in-person delegates and over 400 speakers gathered to discuss the most pertinent topics across the EU space landscape.
The main topics of the event included:
The inaugural edition of the European Space Forum in 2021 was held virtually, and brought together more than 700 key stakeholders and thought leaders from across the space and satellite sectors. Across 2 full days of interactive discussion and debate, the following main topics were discussed:
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Note: All timings are in Central European Time (CET).
In November 2021, the EU released their Strategic Compass for Security and Defence, with the objective of making the EU a stronger and more capable security provider. The document highlighted the link between space issues and security, and made the recommendation for the adoption of an EU space strategy for security and defence by the end of 2023. Given current geopolitical tensions and in particular, the situation in Ukraine, the timeline for this has been accelerated, with the aim now to have the document ready for adoption by the end of this year. This session will explore the key aims and objectives of the proposed recommendation. More broadly, it will look at strengthening links between space, security and defence, and at how to maximise the impact of European space assets on enhancing security and defence capabilities.
If harnessed correctly, the space sector in Europe has the power to make a real and tangible contribution towards some of Europe’s broader political priorities – the European Green Deal, the digitalisation of the European economy and the promotion of a stronger and more resilient Europe on the global stage. This session will look at the ambitious plans that have been laid out as part of the EU Space Programme, and at how these fit with Europe’s broader policy goals and targets. How can policymakers and industry representatives harness the power of space to enable both our green and digital transition, and deliver a stronger, more resilient Europe for us all?
As part of the EU Space Programme, Europe is working hard on technological advancement in space to develop autonomous capabilities in critical technologies. This is now more important than ever in view of evolving geo-political sensitivities. It could be argued that Europe is already playing catch-up in many areas, which has led to suggestions that we are at risk of losing our competitive edge in space. This session will look at key technical capabilities such as launch and surveillance, and at how Europe measures up compared to other regions. Amid a fast-moving international space landscape and fierce competition, it will look at the measures that are needed to ensure the future independence and autonomy of Europe’s space sector.
In February this year, the European Union formally introduced legislation to establish a secure connectivity satellite constellation that will serve European Governments and citizens with next generation satellite communication capabilities. The aim of this ambitious new flagship programme is to enable the EU to enter the race to deliver complete internet access to all Europeans from space, de facto competing with private sector projects developed in other regions, including Starlink, Project Kuiper, Telesat’s Lightspeed, Russia’s Sfera and OneWeb. The programme is moving forward despite negative feedback from impact assessments submitted to the Regulatory Scrutiny Board. This session will look at how scepticism around the initiative can be overcome and what ambitions Europe can realistically hope to have.
The space industry is booming. The emergence of a wide range of ambitious new players (including both developing countries and private firms) coupled with digitalisation and rapid technological development have led to a swathe of new opportunities. In this evolving and fast moving environment, policymakers are faced with the challenge of protecting the needs of traditional space companies and ensuring their continued competitiveness, whilst also promoting and encouraging innovative new start-ups that are entering the market. This session will look at how this can be achieved, and the approaches that are being taken across Europe. Where does the balance lie between protecting domestic space companies vs promoting an open market that encourages competition?
Europe has taken big steps in recent years to increase funding for the space sector. The budget that was approved last year as part of the EU space programme was the largest that has ever been seen (€14.88 billion for 2021-2027); the ESA budget for 2022 say a 10% increase from the previous year; and the €1 billion CASSINI space fund has recently been launched with the aim to boost entrepreneurship and the innovation and competitiveness of enterprises. Despite this however, huge challenges remain when it comes to funding in Europe compared to other regions – budgets here remain six times smaller than in the US for example, and are fragmented across multiple countries. This session will look at the work that is being done to address this inequality, and the challenges that still remain. Against the backdrop of an increasingly competitive global environment, it will explore the options that are available to deliver the public and private investment that is required to keep European space competitive.
As we heard in the last session, private investment within the European space sector is a crucial part of the puzzle to tackle the current funding challenge. The exponential growth seen within the space economy over recent years has seen increased interest in the sector from venture capitalists and private investors, but the investments in Europe are well below those being seen in other regions. On the global level, private investments in space have reached approximately 12% of public spending. In Europe however, this figure drops, with private investments at only about 4% of the institutional budget. This roundtable will bring together members of the investment and start-up communities to discuss the reasons for this, and to look at the best way forward to make the funding opportunity within the European space sector more attractive and to scale up private funding in Europe.
Space is getting increasingly busy and more crowded, not just due to active and defunct satellites but also from millions of pieces of space debris left as a result of various past space ventures and from collisions. In response to this, the Commission is rolling out a new space traffic management initiative, with the aim of delivering a sustainable, safe and secure space ecosystem for both European and global players. This session will look at the actions that are proposed as part of this, focussing on the key areas of space surveillance capabilities, standards for space activities and their promotion at global level. How can policymakers in Europe work alongside both the private sector and global partners to ensure a safer space for all?