Space industry leaders address need for internatioanl collaboration on challenges
Space industry leaders meeting in Abu Dhabi this week addressed the need for effective international collaboration to deal with the industry's most pressing opportunities and challenges.
Space industry leaders meeting in Abu Dhabi this week addressed the need for effective international collaboration to deal with the industry’s most pressing opportunities and challenges.
Speaking at the Global Space Congress, which ran at The St. Regis, Saadiyat Island, on January 31 and February 1, Sir Martin Sweeting, a world-leading pioneer of the use of commercial, off-shelf technologies on small satellites and Executive Chairman of the UK’s Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL), spoke of the need for effective collaboration as well as advice on which multinational technologies and innovations will really impact Earth.
At the Congress, Sir Martin, who pioneered the use of small, low-cost satellites for practical applications and new forms of international space satellite collaboration moderated a panel discussion of space agency leaders including Jean-Yves Le Gall, President, CNES and President, International Astronautical Federation; Dr Alice Bunn, Director, Policy, UK Space Agency; Roberto Battiston, President, Italian Space Agency and Pascale Ehrenfreund, Executive Board Chairman, German Aerospace Center.
“Collaboration between nations, big and small, is essential for the mutual and sustainable utility of space for all nations and for addressing both national and international interests. Domination of space by one nation or a powerful clique is not in the interests of humanity,” said Sir Martin. And Sir Martin, who is also Chairman of Surrey University’s Space Centre, said the opportunities and challenges, will involve the changing roles of both the public and private sectors in the rapidly evolving and ever more closely aligned Earth and space technospheres.
“The development of technologies for both terrestrial and space applications are increasingly synergistic, with the boundaries between Earth and space technologies becoming increasingly blurred. The role played by the private sector alongside the public sector is likewise changing and expanding from traditional communications and Earth observation to now include science and exploration. Private sector funding is central to this growth.”
Yet Sir Martin, who also joined a Congress panel on ‘What the Future in Space Means for Humanity’ says for space to get the recognition and investment it needs, the industry needs to explain itself better to a society which has “become increasingly risk-adverse regarding space in recent years.”
He added: “There are always pressures on public spending – it is just a question of priorities. The space community, both public and private, needs to demonstrate and illustrate its benefits to society so that the appropriate priority for the prevailing conditions can be adopted.” Those benefits, says Sir Martin are widespread and include progress on the environmental front. “Monitoring the health of our planet and enabling humans to utilise its limited resources to best effect and least impact on the environment; to enhance our human security and well-being and to stretch our imagination through exploration beyond our planet.”
While robotics continues to be in the vanguard of space exploration, Sir Martin says, the human factor will never be obsolete. “It will always be a combination of both robotic and human exploration; technological breakthroughs will allow us to go further and extend the boundaries of exploration in space.”
The Global Space Congress is an exclusive, strategic gathering of global space industry leaders which is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates. Organised by Streamline Marketing Group (SMG), in association with the UAE Space Agency, the Congress brings together key public and private stakeholders to evaluate the space sector’s biggest opportunities and gain exposure to its most dynamic new programmes.
“The Congress is where space policies are defined and strategies developed; where new applications for space technology are showcased and the development of highly skilled technical workforces to support national development are promoted,” said Nick Webb, Managing Partner, SMG. “The discussions hosted, and initiatives defined will have a practical and lasting impact on the overall development of the space sector in the Middle East and globally.”