Building on the success of its first two forums, La Tribune organized its first event dedicated to space on Friday 18 September at the Cité de l’espace space theme park in Toulouse. Invited as Keynote Speaker, CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall addressed the impacts of the health crisis on the space sector and underlined the urgency of pursuing a collective and European ambition, viewed from three perspectives.
With the desire to guarantee Europe’s sovereignty and keep it competitive on the world stage, the European Space Agency and the European Commission are seeking to play a federating role. Mobilizing efforts in the fields of telecommunications and quantum technologies, they are assuring competitive access to space, an independent component industry and self-funded data processing resources, an area where we are far too reliant on the GAFA giants. Together, these efforts chart an extremely ambitious path ahead.
The post-NewSpace era.
While NewSpace seemingly challenged the role of governments, the distinction between public and private now looks increasingly meaningless. Without massive public investment, there is no framework of foundation for private investment. They are symbiotic and over the long term the balance of power between private and public investment will remain in favour of government. Start-ups will only thrive with funding, contracts and technologies from governments and large corporations. The post-NewSpace era is already here.
Prospects for the future.
Human exploration of the Moon and ultimately Mars will be the great adventure of this century. In partnership with the United States, Europe and France are preparing to return samples from the red planet as a first step in the search for the origins of life. Space is also set to play a key role for Earth observation: satellites will be fantastic sentinels in a tightly controlled world where all national and regional public policies will need to factor in their impact on global warming and human infrastructures.
Jean-Yves le Gall concluded: “Our well-organized, competitive and ambitious space ecosystem is ready to rise to the challenge we face in these unique times. The European framework is in place and the ability of universities, research laboratories, government agencies, industry and start-ups to work together has been instrumental in securing the stimulus plan, as it was in the success of the ESA ministerial conference in Seville. Sustaining this shared vision and analysis is vital for us to continue playing our role within an ever more ambitious European space programme.”