2nd ESA Security Conference

After a successful first event in November 2021, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) organised the 2nd ESA Security Conference. The event took place on 16-17 May 2023, in Brussels (Palais d’Egmont).

16-17 May 2023 Brussels, Belgium
Conference Proceedings

Space assets have become an integral, fundamental pillar of strategic decision-making and of modern security operations. Recent regional events have shown how significantly the security environment and the role of space have evolved, prompting European actors to adapt and update their security strategies and contributions.

ESA’s governance and its contribution to European security is defined by its Convention and by its Member States, which have increasingly engaged in security matters, as exemplified by the decisions taken at ESA’s November 2022 Council meeting at ministerial level pertaining to Space Safety, ESA’s elements related to Secure Connectivity, cybersecurity and civil security from space. ESA has been as well fully committed to its Copernicus contribution and to implementing Galileo on behalf of the EU. Moreover, ESA has contributed to non-traditional security activities by actively partnering with national and global actors alike in fighting climate change, through its commitment to the Millennial Development Goals, or through its dialogue with international judicial actors such as the International Criminal Court. Through this complex and holistic dynamic, ESA’s R&D contribution is and will remain complementary to national efforts, investments, and leadership.

The 2nd ESA Security Conference explored ways to make ESA activities and expertise more readily available to its stakeholders, while also reflecting on the Agency’s further contribution to both Europe’s welfare and international peace and security through its programmes, policies and partnerships.

With these aims in mind, the event brought together stakeholders from politics, industry and research, as well as users of space services who, together, discussed how the Agency should move forward in terms of shaping its space security approach and apparatus.

The programme of the event is available below.

Tuesday 16 May 2023

9:30-10:30 Introduction & Keynotes

  • 9:30-9:45: Josef Aschbacher, Director General, European Space Agency
  • 9:45-10:00: Thomas Dermine, Belgian State Secretary for Economic Recovery and Strategic Investments, in charge of Science Policy
  • 10:00-10:10: Timo Pesonen, Director General, DG DEFIS, European Commission
  • 10:10-10:30: Matija Rencelj, Research Manager, European Space Policy Institute & Mathieu Bataille, Research Fellow, Lead on Security & Defence, European Space Policy Institute

11:00-12:30 Panel 1: Strategic foresight at a defining crossroads for Europe

Taking stock of the recent evolution of Europe’s strategic environment and recent moves at national and European level, this panel will highlight the relevance of space in crisis management.

Based on recent international policy shifts, on the strategic ambitions laid down in the Strategic Compass and Space and Security/Defence Strategy, but also in ESA initiatives and orientations (Agenda 2025, CM22), what are the stakes that Europe will face in the next couple of decades and which support could space actors bring?

Thematic speaker

Klaus Korhonen, Ambassador, Permanent Representative, Permanent Representation of Finland to NATO


  • Orsolya Ferencz, Ministerial Commissioner for Space, Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Taylor Grossman, Senior Researcher Cyberdefense, Risk and Resilience Team, ETH Zürich
  • Renato Krpoun, Head, Swiss Space Office
  • Alessandro Marrone, Head of Defence Programme, Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Emmanuel Cerou, Strategic Foresight Office, European Space Agency


Jamie Shea, Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defense, Friends of Europe

14:00-15:30 Panel 2: Space as a tool for the protection of citizens and society

The panel will present actual use cases through which space actors contribute to the security of goods and people on the continent, focusing on “softer” dimensions of security, such as emergency management, civil security, protection against climate change impacts…

Thematic speaker

Thao Ton-That Whelan, GIS and remote sensing analyst, International Committee of the Red Cross


  • Philipp Agathonos, Diplomat, Security Policy Directorate, Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Katja Banovec Juroš, Development engineer, National focal point for Copernicus EMS and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, Slovenian Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief
  • José Bondia, Head, EUROSUR National Coordination Centre, Coordination Centre for Maritime Surveillance of Coasts and Frontiers, Guardia Civil
  • Andrea Taramelli, Associate Professor, IUSS University
  • Graham Turnock, Head of the Integrated Accelerator Team, European Space Agency


Hermann Ludwig Moeller, Director, European Space Policy Institute

16:00-16:30 Keynote speeches

  • 16:00-16:20: Sorin Ducaru, Director, EU Satellite Centre
  • 16:20-16:30: Massimo Mercati, Head of ESA Security Office, European Space Agency

16:30-18:00 Panel 3: Improving the contribution of space capabilities for more effective security

Europe needs to project itself into the future and determine the role it wishes to play as a security actor and driver. However, although capabilities do exist, they are not always properly interconnected, while it would provide significant added value to end users. In addition, some capability gaps still exist. Existing and upcoming capabilities in ESA and the EU are present at both institutional and commercial level. This panel will explore how greater interaction/coordination between different service providers (public and private) can be attained and identify the technical steps that are required to reach this objective (if any). In addition, investigation of the current gaps to be addressed by space R&D organisations, such as ESA, will be conducted.

Thematic speaker

Miguel Belló Mora, Director, Spanish Space Agency


  • Jurry de la Mar, Account Director Research & Space Programmes, Deutsche Telekom
  • Maria Kalama, Business Development Director, OpenCosmos
  • Eric Pol, Chairman, aNewGovernance
  • Jean-Francois Ripoche, Director R&T and Innovation, European Defence Agency
  • Christopher Topping, Acting Manager – Civil Security from Space Programme, European Space Agency


Clémence Poirier, Research Fellow, European Space Policy Institute

18:00-20:00 Evening Reception

Wednesday 17 May 2023

9:30-10:00 Introduction & Keynote

  • 9:30-9:40: Pascal Legai, Senior Advisor to ESA Director General, European Space Agency
  • 9:40-10:00: Maciej Popowski, Director General, DG ECHO, European Commission

10:00-11:30 Panel 4: The commercial contribution to space and security

The space industry has matured to such an extent that it now provides key “space for security” capabilities in most areas (Earth observation, secure satellite communications, launchers, etc.). Considering the challenges over the next decade in the face of the currently available or planned capabilities, where will industry invest, and how will that talent be channeled to serve the general welfare through security? What kind of public-private partnerships can be envisaged to support security actors in the best manner? How should we divide efforts among owning, sharing, or simply buying off-the-shelf capabilities?

Thematic speaker

Serge Cholley, Director Defence and Security, Eutelsat


  • Juan Tomás Hernani, President, YEESS
  • Charlotte Lang, Head of Public Affairs, Arianespace
  • Olivier Lemaitre, Secretary General, Eurospace
  • Emmanuel Pajot, Secretary General, EARSC
  • Gordon Campbell, EOP Head of Enterprise, European Space Agency


Steve Bochinger, Chief Operating Officer, Euroconsult

12:00-13:30 Panel 5: The benefits of partnerships in a multidimensional institutional landscape

The panel will aim at identifying international “space for security” actors, highlighting the limits of fragmentation and how to leverage the strength of each non-EU partner, while supporting them: African Union, OSCE, Council of Europe, UN (incl. ICC, etc), WCO, etc.

Thematic speaker

Cécile Aptel, Deputy Director, UNIDIR


  • Thomas Cantens, Head of Research and Policy, World Customs Organisation
  • Carine Claeys, Special Envoy for Space – Head of the Space Division, European External Action Service
  • Tidiane Ouattara, Space Science Expert and GMES & Africa Support Program Coordinator, African Union Commission
  • Xavier Pasco, Director, Foundation for Strategic Research
  • Tuula Yrjölä, Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre & Deputy Head of the OSCE Secretariat, OSCE


Isabelle Duvaux-Béchon, Senior Advisor – Integrated Accelerator Team, European Space Agency

13:30-13:45 Conclusion

  • 13:30-13:45: Grzegorz Wrochna, President, POLSA
  • 13:45-14:00: Josef Aschbacher, Director General, ESA

Additional information

You can find the detailed programme of the conference here.

You can find the concept note of the conference here.

You can find the proceedings of the 1st ESA Security Conference (November 2021) here.

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