For this first edition of the Global Space Congress, CNES showcased its main successes of 2016 and challenges for 2017 on its stand focused on the federating theme “Inventing the future of space”. CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall detailed this approach during the panel discussion in which he took part alongside the world’s main heads of space agencies, among them Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the United Arab Emirates Space Agency (UAESA).
This panel discussion addressed two key questions:
- The first question looked at how collaborative space exploration projects can further our understanding of the Universe. Speakers underlined that looking for possible traces of life and understanding how planets formed and evolved gives us greater insight into Earth and the evolution of its climate. CNES is working at European level and with international partners on numerous exploration missions such as InSight, ExoMars and Mars 2020 for Mars, Bepi-Colombo for Mercury, JUICE for Jupiter and asteroids with MASCOT, not forgetting the International Space Station on which Europe will be participating through to 2024.
- The second question examined the impacts of technologies and innovations developed in this multinational environment on Earth and how will they be effectively commercialized. The consensus was that exploration and commercialization do not really go together, but that emerging nations and the NewSpace movement are in the process of creating a virtuous circle by bringing down the cost of satellites and launch services. Every euro invested in space generates several euros in return, scientific programmes are increasingly attracting the interest of future generations and space agencies will have a key role to play supporting this trend.
Jean-Yves Le Gall also spoke about the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), of which he is the current President, its International Astronautical Congress (IAC), the 67th edition of which was a huge success in Mexico, attracting more than 5,200 attendees, and the roadmap he has charted for IAF for 2016-2019. In particular, he underlined: “Our Federation plays a fundamental role on the international space scene by bringing together scientists, academia and representatives of agencies and industry from all over the world. Indeed, the IAC is the one place and time of the year where all global space players come together to advance our knowledge and showcase space. One of our goals is to promote diversity in line with the principles of “3G” within the space sector: 3G for gender, generation and geography. And our motto “Connecting @ll space people” reflects IAF’s determination to build bridges between established space powers and new entrants, and to welcome new players into the fold.”