January 22, 2019

Space proves a winner for Europe, CNES and IAF at the 11th European Space Policy Conference

Tuesday 22 January, on the occasion of the 11th European Space Policy Conference being held in Brussels, CNES and IAF brought together Europe’s key players in space. In the presence of Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, and Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, CNES and IAF President Jean-Yves Le Gall reviewed the recent successes of spacefaring Europe and outlined the key drivers enabling it to stay ahead in an increasingly competitive and ever-shifting landscape.

2018 saw an impressive series of successes for European space: in science, with the Hayabusa2-MASCOT mission to asteroid Ryugu, the launch of BepiColombo to Mercury and the landing of the InSight-SEIS mission on Mars; in launchers, with the 100th flight of Ariane 5 and continued development work on Ariane 6 and Vega-C; in applications, with the launch of four additional Galileo satellites, the Metop-C weather satellite and the ADM Aeolus satellite to measure climate variables. From an institutional perspective, the ESA Intermediate Ministerial Meeting paved the way for effective and balanced space governance and a successful upcoming ESA Ministerial Council meeting. The Council of the European Union also achieved excellent results in space policy.

Outside the traditional pre-eminence of the United States, China and India are keeping up an impressive pace and today the world has more than 50 space agencies. Commercial competition shows no signs of letting up, driven by the strong NewSpace dynamic. To maintain its leadership in this changing context, Europe is continuing to focus on innovation, applications and international cooperation.

Innovation has always been a core element of Europe’s space effort, as shown by successful examples like electric propulsion. This trend is being pursued with the development of future launchers and nanosatellites, and in space data that are tapping into the potential of digital solutions to enhance their commercial value. Here again, CNES is paving the way, with Prometheus and Callisto in the field of launchers, ANGELS and Kineis in innovative satellites and ConnectbyCNES in space-derived services. Applications also have great commercial value and huge potential for generating new business opportunities. The EU’s two flagship programmes—Galileo with its 600 million users and Copernicus with its ever-increasing data rates—are fine testaments to that. And lastly, international cooperation will remain a key tool for Europe to contribute to ambitious missions and boost its political and industrial influence.

In 2019, the European Union, which has proposed to invest €16 billion in space in the next seven years, will be finalizing its space regulation. And in November, the ESA Ministerial Council meeting is set to define new programmatic, technological and financial ambitions. In all, space is proving a winner for Europe.

Pascale Bresson    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 75 39    pascale.bresson@cnes.fr
Raphaël Sart    Press Officer    Tel: +33 (0)1 44 76 74 51    raphael.sart@cnes.fr
Sébastien Martignac    Press Officer    Tel. +33 (0)1 44 76 78 35    sebastien.martignac@cnes.fr