05 March 2018. On 27 February 2018, ESPI participated in the second talk of the annual “ETIA Talks” series, this year entitled “What A Disastrous World It Is...”, addressing the topic of “Waste in Space - Is Space Wasted?”. The event was organized by students in the postgraduate Environmental Technology and International Affairs (ETIA) joint program at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna and the Technical University of Vienna.
ESPI Resident Fellow Cenan Al-Ekabi participated as a panelist in an hour and a half discussion with Mr. Michael Kenn – a mathematician at the Center for Medical Statistics, Informatics, and Intelligent Systems at the Medical University of Vienna – and Mr. Niklas Hedman, who serves as Chief of the Committee, Policy and Legal Affairs Section at the UN OOSA and Secretary of the UN COPUOS meetings. The talk was hosted at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, and was moderated by ESPI researcher Edward Burger. Mr. Al-Ekabi’s contribution, developed with ESPI Resident Fellow Martin Sarret, addressed the space environment and the stakes for Europe. Mr. Kenn, who is experienced in simulations on diverse astronomy and physics topics, spoke at length on the physics of space debris. And Mr. Hedman shared his in-depth experience and knowledge of the UN’s activities regarding the use of space and answered numerous questions on the scope and terms of international space law. A large audience, representing a mix of students, academics, and space sector professionals, filled the Festsaal of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Following brief introductions the panelists provided their opening statements, with Mr. Kenn first describing the current debris conditions around the Earth. Mr. Al-Ekabi followed, introducing the audience to the concerns of the European space sector with regards to space access vis-à-vis the space debris conditions. And Mr. Hedman concluded with an introduction to the activities of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs, a description of the UNISPACE+50 activities and objectives, and the space law perspective on space debris. The panelists then contributed their unique perspectives to a series of topics raised during the main discussion, including: technical and legal definitions of debris and other relevant terms, debris population growth over time and due to particular events in space, technical risks to space infrastructure and for services on earth, the future effect of satellite constellations which are currently in development, specific past and future UN activities, and the terms of the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. The link to the video of the discussion can be found on Facebook here The presentation can be found here The event flyer can be found here More information on the ETIA Talks series can be found here