Speaking alongside Pascale Ehrenfreund, President of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), Jean-Yves Le Gall began by welcoming the new DG DEFIS. Recalling the successes accomplished by spacefaring Europe, driven by the European Commission, ESA and national space agencies, with CNES in the forefront, he underlined the importance of consolidating the European Union’s budget in the wake of the Space19+ Conference. He suggested allocating a funding envelope to space in the Horizon Europe programme, in particular to support innovation. He also stressed the need to define an industrial policy for space geared towards maintaining its technological independence and its lead in the production of space data in the field of climate action and environmental protection.
CNES’s President then set out the four conditions he sees as the key to guaranteeing Europe’s sovereignty and viability. First, a sustainable space economy in line with the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the European Energy and Climate Strategy and the upcoming Green Deal; second, exploitation of space data as a potential source of economic development that requires a transfer of knowledge and technologies to the market; third, building on tools like Galileo and Copernicus in the coming years; and fourth, getting all the right stakeholders on board from the outset. He drew the audience’s attention to the responsibility of member states, national agencies and space system operators to be exemplary and adopt a common European position on the increasingly competitive domain of space and champion it in the international arena.
The conference also provided the opportunity for the European Commission to announce the entry into service of the SAR Galileo system’s new Return Link Functionality (RLF). This functionality will allow users sending a distress call to receive rapid acknowledgment from the SAR Galileo Service Centre on CNES premises in Toulouse, where the coordination and supervision facilities are operated. Jean-Yves Le Gall, in his capacity as Chair of the Administrative Board of GSA, the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, was invited by the Commission to take the floor on behalf of France and CNES in light of its key role in defining and implementing this new service and as a pillar of the COSPAS-SARSAT programme.