The Space Forum brought together in Luxembourg a broad panel of representatives of space agencies, European innovation hubs, satellites operators, industry contractors and business angels. The forum is devoted to the impact of the space sector on business across a wide spectrum of activities spanning mobility, security, media and space exploration, and is attended by key stakeholders, start-up entrepreneurs and investors. This year’s event attracted more than 6,000 decision-makers from more than 70 countries, with an exclusive programme of seminars and presentations by the world’s biggest names in space, focused on four areas: Global Connectivity, Mobility & the Internet of Things (IoT), Cybersecurity, and Exploration & Space Mining.
Jean-Yves Le Gall took part in the panel discussion on Global Connectivity, where he gave a keynote speech on the theme ‘From NewSpace to SmartSpace’, underlining the seismic shifts the sector has seen in recent years as we find ourselves on the cusp of a new space age. Detailing the prospects for development of Internet connectivity with the transition from 4G wireless services to 5G, which is set to give a further boost to the Internet of Things, he pointed to the benefits of NewSpace or rather SmartSpace, a perhaps more appropriate term highlighting the fact that space systems are getting smarter, smaller, more modular and more flexible. In his view, NewSpace breaks down the barriers between space systems and NBIC technologies, making it possible to develop applications and considerably reduce up-mass to afford greater agility, for example to be able to reconfigure satellites in orbit. He also tied these issues to the challenge posed by our changing climate, for which space will be called on to play an increasingly important monitoring role with the arrival of the first satellites providing the capability to collect regional measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations—a challenge that can only be met through international cooperation, one of CNES’s traditional strengths.
After his speech, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “The speakers and visitors I have met here today are the perfect illustration of our fast-changing sector and the arrival of a host of new players whose codes and methods may seem surprising at first, but whose motivation and ambitions are moving space forward in leaps and bounds. The advent of the digital era and the exponential growth in data transmission capacity and Big Data technologies are changing the game and opening up virtually boundless vistas for new applications. The real challenge facing us now is to adapt and be ready to take full advantage of this wealth of data to take us into a new space age.”