6 March 2008. Today, ESPI presented in Brussels its study on “Europe’s way to Space Situational Awareness” and the joint memorandum drafted together with George Washington University on trans-Atlantic cooperation. In addition, talks were conducted at the European Parliament.
Around 50 persons from the European Parliament services, the European Commission, national ministries, diplomatic services, space agencies and industry gathered in Brussels today to participate in ESPI’s second study presentation this year (the first one took place on 30 January, see webnews here). This large audience, including high-ranking officials as the Director and the Deputy Director of the European Union Satellite Centre (EUSC), Frank Asbeck and Amb. Tomaz Lovrencic, the Head of ESA’s Security Policy Office, Erwin Duhamel and the Head of the EC’s Space Policy Coordination Unit, Andras Roboz. The event was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Austria to the EU and the audience was welcomed by ESPI’s Director Kai-Uwe Schrogl. It demonstrated the interest in ESPI’s research work and allowed for discussing the issues amongst the main stakeholders in these areas.
In a short address Mathieu Weiss, the space counsellor in the Permanent Representation of France to the EU, whose country will hold the EU Presidency in the second half of 2008, pointed out his country’s ambitions in this respect. He highlighted France’s interest in ESPI’s activities and research for that purpose.
The first presentation by ESPI Research Fellow Wolfgang Rathgeber dealt with key implications of setting up a European system for Space Situational Awareness (SSA). Since modern societies have become increasingly dependent on space technology and its applications, it is important to be in a state of SSA in order to protect space assets and to ensure their smooth operation. For the time being, Europe merely disposes of national systems for Space Surveillance. A bigger SSA picture can only be sketched with data that is supplied by the U.S. However, European efforts to set up a European SSA system are underway. This study (download here) looks at selected aspects of such a system. In particular, various data policy models referring to existing Earth observation systems are discussed. In addition, general observations for the future course of action are laid down (e.g. the development of Space Traffic Management).
The second presentation by ESPI Research Fellow Nicolas Peter put forward the joint-policy memorandum drafted by the European Space Policy Institute and the George Washington University‘s Space Policy Institute on the state of trans-Atlantic space relations (download here; a presentation had already taken place in Washington D.C. on 25 February, see webnews here). Europe and the United States have been involved in joint space activities for more than forty years, making of the trans-Atlantic partnership the oldest alliance in space. Today, new U.S. directions and attitudes in space and the evolution of the European space context are affecting the nature of traditional European – U.S. space relations. As there is a need for a new dialogue to define what the future direction the trans-Atlantic partnership should take, this policy memorandum provides reflections on the state of this relations, and lays out options to be considered in the months ahead by policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic.
The next ESPI study presentation in Brussels is planned to take place on 2 July 2008 focussing on Russia’s external relations in space activities and the governance of space security in Europe.
Mathieu Weiss addressing the audience Wolfgang Rathgeber
Nicolas Peter Audience
Following the presentation event, talks were held in the European Parliament. Support was offered to the secretariat of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and a short meeting with one of the space advocates, Member of the European Parliament Dr. Paul Rübig, was arranged.
From left to right: Nicolas Peter, MEP Dr. Paul Rübig, Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Wolfgang Rathgeber