Stakeholders from around Europe and the world gathered online on 7-12 December to attend this year’s edition of European Space Week. Despite the constraints put in place by the Coronavirus pandemic, the event was a great success, with over 3000 participants involved in the discussions, plenaries, consultation platforms and award ceremonies that took place during the week.
The first online edition of EUSW provided an occasion for members of the global space community to come together to celebrate the achievements of the European Space Programme. It was an occasion to hear from users about their needs and requirements, to discuss the strategic direction of EUSpace, and how to ensure that the programme continues to provide the services needed to meet Europe’s strategic priorities.
In total, there were around 100 speakers, who took part in 14 sessions spread across the week. Speaking at the week’s opening session, a plenary on the User Consultation Platform, European GNSS Agency (GSA) Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa noted that he was very happy to see that many people from Europe and around the world had registered to attend the event. “I am happy to see that we have quickly adapted to new circumstances, in the same way that the Space Programme has adapted to meet the needs of users,” he said.
Robust budgetary support
A series of plenary sessions early in the week discussed the latest developments in the EU Space Programme and its strategic direction for the coming years, along with how to support the development of business based on EUSpace. At the session, EC Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton noted that the space business was changing. “The cost of doing space is decreasing, competition is evolving and European space actors will have to adapt,” he said, adding that to support this change, the next Multi-annual Financial Framework would have a robust budgetary envelope of EUR 13 billion for space.
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In addition to the online format, there were a number of innovations at this year’s event. Copernicus was represented for the first time, with a session on the status and future of Europe’s eyes on Earth. There were also new sessions, such as on how to promote the EU space programme, and how to improve equality and inclusion in the industry. A session on secure satellite communications presented the GOVSATCOM programme, Europe’s response to cyber and hybrid threats and natural disasters.
There was also a high amount of interest in the Investor Forum, which brought start-ups/SMEs from a wide range of business backgrounds together with investors interested in investing in EU space technology. In total, 10 start-ups presented their ideas to the panel of investors. For more information on this session, click here.
A week of celebration
EUSW was also an occasion to announce the winners of various innovation competitions organised by the European GNSS Agency (GSA) in partnership with other stakeholders. These included Geomatics on the Move, Farming by Satellite and the Galileo and Copernicus Masters. These competitions are an important source of innovative applications and solutions that meet current and future needs in various market segments.
Watch this: Thank you for joining the #EUSpaceWeek 2020
Looking to the future, the GSA executive director noted that the year ahead would mark an important evolution for the European Space Programme, with the expansion of the GSA into the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA). “EUSPA will continue to be user-oriented. Our goal is to use safe and secure space services across all market segments, while increasing the competitiveness of downstream industry, contributing to sustainable growth, security and safety of the European Union.,” he said.
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