Europe wants more autonomy and independence in space

BREMEN, Germany — European space officials stress the need for greater autonomy and sovereign capabilities in the future in the wake of geopolitical trends and developments.

“Europe is already a very big space power, but it can even improve in the sense that Europe has strong capabilities in all sectors but lacks autonomy in some parts,” said Gerldine Naja, Director of Commercialization, Industry and Industry of the European Space Agency. Procurement, keynote speaker at the opening of the industry conference at Space Tech Expo Europe in Bremen, Germany on November 15.

“We need to focus on ensuring full European autonomy in space and invest more in commercial growth areas,” Naja added.

Naja spoke of a number of areas where Europe needs to strengthen its independence, including exploration, which requires nuclear power sources for long-duration deep space missions.

The issue of space transportation was declared critical. “There is no space policy without autonomous launch capability,” Naja said. “And Europe must strengthen and maintain this autonomy. It is crucial.

“I think we are at the start of a new era for launches in Europe, with a stronger focus on commercial launch services. And ESA must follow this trend.

The political push for autonomy and independence is addressed at all levels.

“I spoke of the need for European independence. It is clear that this also applies to European components,” said Naja, adding that the EEE initiative, which aims to ensure the availability of suitable, reliable and cost-effective electrical, electronic and electromechanical components, will ensure sovereignty and European independence. .

The same theme was taken up in a later panel. Jean-Marc Astorg, director of strategy at the French space agency CNES, spoke about the importance and opportunities presented by constellations.

“We need sovereignty for secure connectivity in Europe,” Astorg said, referring to a proposal broadband constellation. He added that ESA and the European Commission have done a good job of coming together to come up with several secure connectivity configurations.

“It is important to have this system, which must be available as soon as possible. But it is important, from my point of view, to show that the European public sector is capable of overcoming its inherent difficulties in developing a system.

The EU Secure Connectivity Program will be one of many packages on the table next week ESA Ministerial Meetingas will advanced technologiesmany of which are related to competitiveness.

These movements are linked to long-term trends, but are also favored by more recent and acute developments.

“Autonomy and sovereignty are some of the underlying elements of European thinking that have been around for a few years already. But I would say that global and geopolitical developments, especially in the wake of Russia’s war against Ukraine, have greatly accelerated this,” said Tomas Hrozensky, researcher at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI). SpaceNews.

“Europe is trying to send a message to the world that it is one of the world’s space powers, but indeed it has a problem with not having sovereign capabilities that you think are associated with it. “, said Hrozensky, noting the reliance on certain subcomponents.

“So it’s really something where the European Union comes into play and I think it’s associated with a broader trend of geopolitical awareness of the EU.”

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