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ESPI Celebrates 20 Years at the Austrian Parliament

Yesterday, the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) celebrated its 20th Anniversary at the revered Austrian Parliament. The event brought together high-level guests from across Europe and the world, counting close to 40 nations. Governmental representatives, executives of international organisations, ambassadors, parliamentarians, heads of agencies, industry leaders, and international guests from NASA, JAXA, ISRO and KARI joined ESPI’s staff, members, and Advisory Council to celebrate the anniversary.

ESPI 20th Anniversary Programme

Following the opening remarks, delivered by Leonore Gewessler, Austria’s Federal Minister for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation & Technology; Josef Aschbacher, Director General of European Space Agency; and Hermann Ludwig Moeller, Director of ESPI, the event kicked off with a roundtable discussion moderated by Chair of ESPI General Assembly, Andreas Geisler from FFG, on the topic of European space policy, with the following representatives: 

  • Timo Pesonen, Director General at European Commission’s DG DEFIS
  • Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy 
  • Frank Monteny, Director of General Research and Space at BELSPO 
  • Eric Morel de Westgaver, Director of European, Legal and International Matters, ESA 
  • Riadh Cammoun, VP of Institutional Affairs, Thales Alenia Space 
  • Geneviève Fioraso, ESPI Advisory Council Chair 2017-2023 and Former French Minister for Higher Education and Research 

This roundtable discussion was followed by a panel discussion offering international perspectives on space, which featured Aarti Holla-Maini, Director of the UN Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), Ikuko Kuriyama, Advisor to the Director inGeneral Affairs Department of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and  Stefan Mair, Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). 

The event then made way for the launch of ESPI2040: Space for Prosperity, Peace and Future Generations, which featured Etienne Schneider, incoming Chair of ESPI’s Advisory Council and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg, and Samantha Cristoforetti, European Astronaut and Member of ESPI’s Advisory Council. 

The policy panel discussions were followed by a round of signatures and announcements of new ESPI collaborations. This included: 

  • New ESPI Members (Portuguese Space Agency, Luxembourg Space Agency, Beyond Gravity, and Exolaunch) 
  • New Agreements (ESA, Italian Space Agency, and the Spanish Space Agency) 
  • Reinforced International Cooperation (JAXA, Korea Aerospace Research Institute, and Space Generation Advisory Council) 
  • Establishment of the ESPI Centre of Excellence for Space and Sustainability (in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation & Technology)  
  • News about ESPI’s new home at Schwarzenbergplatz 16. 

Following the event at the Parliament an evening reception ensued at Justizcafé, the rooftop venue of the venerable Palace of Justice in Vienna. 

In addition to celebrating 20 years of the European Think Tank for Space, guests also enjoyed inspirational speeches, high-level networking, and a caricature artist who captured their vision and hopes for space in the coming decades and beyond. 

ESPI2040 served as a guiding theme for the event as guests each received a copy of our bold new policy vision and engaged in animated conversations throughout the evening.  

ESPI would like to thank everyone who attended yesterday’s event and would especially like to thank our generous sponsors for our evening and dinner reception: Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), Beyond Gravity, and Austrospace.  

Stay tuned for more photos from the event and be sure to read and download your copy of ESPI2040 here.

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