17th ESPI Autumn Conference

European Space Governance in a Transforming World

24 - 25 October 2023 Urania Observatory, Uraniastraße 1, 1010, Vienna, Austria

Conference Overview

The Autumn Conference is one of the annual highlights of ESPI’s calendar, offering a platform for European and international stakeholders to convene and hold informed and in-depth space-related discussions that reach beyond headlines. This year, the 17th edition of the Autumn Conference will be held on the 24th and 25th of October 2023 in an in-person format. This year’s discussions will focus on “European Space Governance in a Transforming World”, acknowledging that the global scope and nature of space and non-space activities are currently undergoing profound changes. Hosted at the Urania Observatory in Vienna, this two-day event will be comprised of three panel sessions and a high-level debate.

The following is an overview of the agenda:

Day 1 - 24 October 2023 (12:00 - 18:30)

Day One will start at 12:00 with Conference accreditation and a networking lunch. The Conference programme with begin at 13:00 with the keynote followed by the first two sessions, which will each include a thematic speech followed by a moderated panel discussion.

Welcoming Remarks

  • Hermann Ludwig Moeller | Director, ESPI
  • Andreas Geisler | Head, Aeronautics and Space Agency, FFG

Opening Remarks

  • Geneviève Fioraso | Chair of ESPI Advisory Council & Former French Minister in Charge of Higher Education and Research, France

Find out more about the Speaker here.

Conference Keynote

  • Etienne Schneider | Former Deputy Prime Minister, Luxembourg

Find out more about the Speaker here.

Session 1 – “Embracing Multipolar Partnerships”

As dynamics of global partnerships evolve, Europe should assess how it wants to position itself and interact with this competitive and diverse environment. The magnitude of the climate crisis, economic uncertainty, coupled with other geopolitical challenges, highlight the need to re-think the European approach to space. The aim of the panel is to discuss the avenues by which Europe can become a fully-fledged space power, while also fostering robust alliances across the globe, enhancing Europe’s influence and competitiveness in this transformative era. The panel promises to weave a discourse around multipolarity in space partnerships, paving the way for increased European prominence through bold and timely ambitions of European decision makers and industry executives.

  • Thematic Speech: Tushar R. Phadnis | Counsellor (Space) and ISRO Technical Liaison Officer, Embassy of India, Paris
  • Panelists:
    • Didier Schmitt | Strategy and coordination group leader for human and robotic exploration, ESA
    • Patrick Besha | Senior Policy Advisor, NASA
    • Tushar R. Phadnis | Counsellor (Space) and ISRO Technical Liaison Officer, Embassy of India, Paris
    • Shahrzad Larger | VP Strategic Account ESA, Thales Alenia Space
    • Emmanuelle Méric | General Manager, Loft Orbital
    • Julien-Alexandre Lamamy | CEO, ispace Europe
  • Moderator: Matija Renčelj | Research Manager, ESPI

Find out more about Session 1 speakers here.

Session 2 – “Bursting the Public-to-Public Bubbles”

Current European space governance is defined by a combination of different actors, including ESA, the EU, and their respective Member States, without clear, consistent and robust cooperation and coordination mechanisms. This is increasingly resulting in policy and regulatory fragmentation, asymmetry in priorities, and potential duplication of efforts. Acting in accordance with their mandate, institutional bodies dealing with space in Europe will ultimately need improved coordination to unlock the full potential of the European economy and society. The aim of this panel is to provide introspection on how the plethora of institutional space actors in Europe can further increase synergies, better defining their respective priorities, roles and responsibilities.

  • Thematic Speech: Mariella Graziano | Executive Director, International Strategy and Business Development, GMV
  • Panelists:
    • Gisela Süss | Head of the Legal Service Department, ESA
    • Isabella Poldrugo | Deputy Head of Unit of DG DEFIS’ Space Policy Unit, European Commission
    • Mauro Piermaria | Director for Programs and Strategies, Space Policy Office of the Italian Prime Minister, Italy
    • Kaoutar Abousmir | Head of International Space Strategy, DSIT, United Kingdom
    • René Kleeßen | Director Organisations and Infrastructures, DLR, Germany
    • Mariella Graziano | Executive Director, International Strategy and Business Development, GMV
  • Moderator: Hermann Ludwig Moeller | Director, ESPI

Find out more about Session 2 speakers here.

Day 2 - 25 October 2023 (09:30 - 15:00)

Day Two will start at 09:15 with Conference accreditation and coffee. The Conference programme with begin at 09:45 with opening remarks followed by the debate and the final session, which will include a thematic speech followed by a moderated panel discussion.

Opening Remarks

  • Margit Mischkulnig | Head of the Department for Space Affairs, BMK
  • Simonetta Cheli | Director of ESA Earth Observation Programmes, ESA

The Debate – “Comparing and Contrasting European and U.S. Space Ambitions”

The debate will examine differences in approach by European and American public actors in balancing the interests of both public and private entities. It will address the transformation of the industrial eco-system and the underlying public-private relations and procurement strategies. Specifically, where NASA’s strategy has cultivated an increased dependence on the commercial sector to achieve some of the agency’s objectives, strategies adopted in Europe are geared towards striking the right balance between national interests, European cooperation, global competitiveness, and free-market competition.

  • Panelists
    • Luca Del Monte | Head of Commercialisation Department at European Space Agency, ESA
    • Alexander MacDonald | Chief Economist, NASA
  • Moderator: Sinéad O’Sullivan | Member, ESPI Advisory Council

Find out more about The Debate speakers here.

Impulse Statement 

  • Aleix Megías Homar | Co-founder and COO, Open Cosmos

Session 3 – “Leveraging a Multistakeholder Environment”

The unfolding space transformation is further characterised by transformed public-private relations that play a crucial role in fostering the development of industrial capabilities, overall sectorial innovation, and industrial competitiveness in global markets. This panel aims to shed light on how to navigate an increasingly multifaceted environment, consisting of established and emerging industrial actors, R&D actors, policymakers, investors, and increasingly diverse user communities. Learning to navigate such an environment is especially important today, as it is challenging the conventional narratives of the European space domain. In particular, the discussion will build on the need to re-think the public-private continuum, stimulating its innovative power, and going beyond a focus on industrial policy and direct industrial return towards towards frameworks that serve the broader set of European and national policy objectives.

  • Thematic Speech: Magali Vaissière | President of the IRT Saint Exupéry and Member of the Ministerial Space Steering Committee of France 2030, France
  • Panelists:
    • Magali Vaissière | President of the IRT Saint Exupéry and Member of the Ministerial Space Steering Committee of France 2030, France
    • Christine Klein | Head of the Industrial Policy and Auditing Department, ESA
    • David Bertolotti | Secretary-General, Eutelsat
    • Kurt Kober | Vice President Electronic Solutions, Beyond Gravity Austria GmbH
    • François Raffenne | Head of EU & NATO Public Affairs, ArianeGroup
    • Eric Slesinger | Founder, 201 Ventures
  • Moderator: Sara Dalledonne | Research Fellow and Lead on Regulatory Affairs, ESPI

Find out more about Session 3 speakers here.

Essay Competition Award Ceremony & Closing Statements

The Conference will close with the announcement of the two Essay Competition winners and a closing speech by ESPI’s Director, Hermann Ludwig Moeller.

Networking Lunch

All Conference participants are invited to join the Networking Lunch that will follow the closure of the Conference.

Additional Information

Additional details about the conference, programme, and speakers will be provided soon.

For any questions or to request more information, please send a note to events@espi.or.at or to Sara Dalledonne at: sara.dalledonne@espi.or.at

You can find the conference flyer here.

The Autumn Conference is supported by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Federal Ministry Republic of Austria Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).

Key Takeaways

In addition to the recap video above, you can read and download our Conference Key Takeaways here.

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