Europe is the birthplace and historically the cradle of IAF. Today, a large majority of IAF’s members still come from Europe and play a key role shaping the Federation’s activities as the world’s leading space advocacy body. IAF provides a platform for organizations, communities and individuals active in space to meet, share knowledge and experience, and to connect with each other in a spirit of cooperation. IAF counts 343 corporate members from 68 countries on six continents. Its next event will be the second International Space Forum in February in Nairobi, Kenya.
To stay competitive in today’s fast-moving international space sector, Europe faces two key challenges. The first is to keep pace with the rapidly shifting global innovation landscape, prominently represented by NewSpace. This means strong investment must be maintained in research and innovation to boost industry’s competitiveness in export markets. The second is to anticipate the political reshaping of the global space scene. New players are emerging rapidly with the ambition to leverage space applications for their benefit and to claim a share of global space markets. It is thus crucial for Europe to engage with these upcoming players to continue playing a pivotal role in international space diplomacy. By actively partnering with emerging countries and connecting with new communities, IAF is at the forefront helping to bridge the gap between established and emerging space players.
Europe has all the assets to meet these two challenges. Galileo and Copernicus offer significant potential benefits for users all around the world, while ESA’s achievements in the fields of launchers, science, exploration and applications make it a partner of choice for international initiatives. Europe’s very specific identity, marked by its innate diversity and cooperation, also makes it a unique partner. Political, institutional, industrial and academic stakeholders have all had to learn to work together over decades to craft a coherent space strategy.
On the sidelines of the conference, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “I hope IAF’s daily efforts to achieve a more-connected space world will inspire Europe. IAF looks forward to working with Europe’s institutions—the Parliament, Commission, ESA and national agencies—in pursuit of our common objectives for the benefit of European and global society.”