17 September 2007. The First ESPI Autumn Conference took place on 13 and 14 September 2007 in ESPI’s premises in Vienna. This event gathered experts on space policy research for the preparation of the forthcoming Space Policy Yearbook and launched also the European Space Policy Research and Academic Network (ESPRAN).
ESPI’s Autumn Conference will, from this year on, form a regular opportunity to review space policy issues and discuss the prospects for developments and trends in this field. This is done by gathering, upon invitation, senior experts in space policy research, as well as closely related policy areas.
On the first day of the conference, contributors to the forthcoming Space Policy Yearbook , edited by ESPI and published by Springer, presented drafts of their articles and engaged in discussions with the audience. Every year, ten renowned authors will be invited to contribute to the Space Policy Yearbook on selected topics of relevance for the past 12 months. The first Space Policy Yearbook will be published in early 2008. For this inaugural edition, the papers selected include among others analyses of various aspects of the European Space Policy, the Chinese ASAT test, the US space policy and the upcoming new Japanese space law. Authors present were inter alia Jean-Louis Fellous (incoming Executive Director of COSPAR), Kevin Madders (Interdisciplinary Center for Space Studies at the University of Leuven), Götz Neuneck (Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg), Xavier Pasco (Foundation for Strategic Research in Paris), Serge Plattard (United Nations Office Vienna) and Kazuto Suzuki (Institute for Political Science at the University of Tsukuba). ESPI research staff Nicolas Peter and Charlotte Mathieu presented also the preliminary results on the in-house analysis performed so far that will frame the reflections of the external contributions.
The exchange amongst these experts was not only beneficial in the context of the upcoming Springer publication, but was also a particularly interesting event for the participating representatives of ESPI’s member institutions. They were able to be part of these highly original deliberations on the various aspects of space policy.
The second day of the Autumn Conference, which was moderated throughout by ESPI’s Secretary General Kai-Uwe Schrogl, was devoted to the establishment of ESPRAN, the European Space Policy Research and Academic Network. This Network will in the future be the central platform for bringing together the European and worldwide experts in the field of space policy research in order to among others participate in ESPI activities (like the Space Policy Yearbook) but also conduct joint activities (studies or conferences). ESPRAN, managed in ESPI by Charlotte Mathieu, will have its own page under ESPI’s website.
The Autumn Conference’s second day had been opened with three special keynote lectures dealing with science, business and policy, thus covering main aspects of space activities in Europe. ESA’s Science Director David Southwood gave an inspiring view on the importance of space science and exploration. Eric Perez, Business Development Director Earth Observation, Navigation and Science at Astrium Satellites outlined the tremendous commercial potential of Earth observation. Finally, András Roboz, Head of the Space Policy and Coordination Unit in the European Commission spoke about the implementation of the new European Space Policy and demonstrated the particular importance of ESP and the related upcoming actions. These keynotes presentations added considerably to the success of ESPI’s First Autumn Conference, which achieved its approach in combining the author’s conference for the Yearbook with the ESPRAN networking conference on the highest possible level due to the dedicated contributions of all the participants.