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14 and 15 October 2013. In its role as Secretariat to the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC), ESPI assisted this year’s Belgium Presidency in the organisation of the XVth Plenary session, which took place in the Belgium Senate in Brussels. This year’s Presidency, under the Chairmanship of Senator Dominique Tilmans, focused on the theme ‘Space and Education’


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The senators Alain Courtois and Dominique Tilmans

The Plenary Session was held over the course of two days, with the first centred on interventions by prominent speakers as well as panel debates, and the second day being reserved for the discussion and adoption of a resolution by the Members. In addition, the Belgium Senate hosted two evening events, one on Sunday 13th at the Brussels Town Hall (Hosted by Alain Courtois, Senator and First Alderman of the City of Brussels) and the second on Monday 14th at the Palais Egmont (Hosted by Didier Reynders, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and European Affairs). The success of the event was in part due to the high participation (over 190 people) of space-related professionals and the attendance of young space professionals. As a complementary event, the Belgium Senate organised a space exhibition within their facilities, which included the famous Tintin Rocket (‘Man to the Moon’).  TintinRocket 
The Tintin rocket





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Family photo

With this year’s theme centred on students and their interest in space education, the ambition was to try to better match space education with the challenging needs of the space industry. There is a shortage of qualified young aerospace scientists, engineers and technicians and bearing this in mind the Belgian Presidency, represented by Senator Dominique Tilmans, focused on the success stories and best practices that have been noted in this field.

The conference was introduced by keynote speeches of Mrs Sabine de BETHUNE (Chairwoman of the Belgian Senate); Mrs Dominique TILMANS (Chairwoman of the Belgian Space Working Group and Chairwoman of the 15th EISC), as well as Mr Philippe Courard (Belgian Deputy Minister for Science Policy), Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain (Director General of ESA), Mr Vittorio Prodi (Chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup of the European Parliament), and a pre-recorded message from Mr. Luca Parmitano (astronaut aboard the ISS) was presented.



5. conference cartoonThe conference was introduced by keynote speeches of Mrs Sabine de BETHUNE (Chairwoman of the Belgian Senate); Mrs Dominique TILMANS (Chairwoman of the Belgian Space Working Group and Chairwoman of the 15th EISC), as well as Mr Philippe Courard (Belgian Deputy Minister for Science Policy), Mr Jean-Jacques Dordain (Director General of ESA), Mr Vittorio Prodi (Chair of the Sky and Space Intergroup of the European Parliament), and a pre-recorded message from Mr. Luca Parmitano (astronaut aboard the ISS) was presented.

 

 

 

 

 

  Cartoon by Emilien Rime

 

thumb Youngspaceprofessionals Young space professionals panel Following the introductory remarks, a panel, chaired by Astronaut Frank De Winne (Head of the European Astronaut Centre) and moderated by Kai-Uwe Schrogl (Head of the ESA Policies Department), featuring a group of young space professionals selected by EISC member countries as well as representatives of the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and the Young ESA group. This panel debate provided the opportunity to discuss the motivations of young space professionals and, in turn, an insight not only into their motivations for wanting to work in the space sector, but also the opportunities and challenges they have faced. 
The afternoon debate panel’s focus revolved on ‘Prospects and projects for young professionals and students’. The panel, which was chaired by Senator Live Maes (Belgium Space Working Group) and moderated by Mr. Alain Ratier (Director General of EUMETSAT) included a number of prominent panellists: Ms. Aarti Holla-Maini (Secretary General of ESOA), Mr. Jean-Yves Le Gall (President of CNES), Olivier Lemaitre (Head of Brussels Office ASD-Eurospace), Peter Grognard (CEO SEOTENTRIO), Alain Bories (Senior VP of Strategy and Business Development of OHB Technology AG), Mr. Olivier Dupont (CEO LAMBDA X), and Mr. Joël Chenet (VP of Strategy and Business Development of Thales Alenia Space). These representatives of the space industry and space organisations were confronted with questions from the public, especially interested young professionals, and explained their youth recruitment strategies.  7. panelMs. Aarti Holla, Mr. Le Gall, Mr. Lemaitre, Ms. Maes, Mr. Grognard, Mr. Bories, Mr. Dupont and Mr. Chenet


 

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Mr. Hulsroj

Following the panel debates the first day of the Plenary Conference was concluded by Peter Hulsroj (Director of ESPI). The concluding remarks focused on the need for young space professionals; for greater industry, academic, institutional synergy; for greater promotion of space in education programs (from primary school to university); and for more concrete proposals in order to enable young professionals to enjoy fulfilling careers in space. . 

 

thumb EISC-ESA awardThis year also represented the first edition of the EISC-ESA ‘Space for Sustainability Award’, which was launched during the Polish Presidency of the 14th European Interparliamentary Space Conference. This award was created with the intention to raise awareness, stimulate the debate on space and sustainable development (SD) issues and be a tool for innovative and creative project ideas in those areas. The first winner of this EISC-ESA collaboration was Maxime Puteaux, for his project MARS 4 EARTH.

 

 

 

  EISC-ESA award

The Plenary session was concluded on the second day after the discussion and adoption of the resolution in a closed session by the parliamentarians representing the EISC member states. It was also notedthat the presidency for 2014 would be held by France and agreed that the one for 2015 would be held by Spain (conditional upon final confirmation by Spain). 


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