NOTnew Chinese space station, Indian-manned flights scheduled for next year, recent first launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) and NASA’s return to the Moon, relentless takeoffs of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launcher to put thousands of satellites into orbit… Greater programs and announcements are mushrooming all over the world.
In this abundance, what is the place of Europe? This is the challenge of the next ministerial conference of the European Space Agency (ESA) on 22 and 23 November, which will decide its funding for the next three years.
Let us remember that a considerable part of our daily activities is directly linked to space: telecommunications, geolocation or meteorology, we are permanently dependent on space, and this omnipresence makes it both an instrument of sovereignty and a powerful lever for growth.
Europe’s autonomous access to space allows our militaries and governments to have satellite means to observe, listen and communicate in a secure way. Major projects in the European Union’s telecommunications constellation are also essential to complement existing systems.
Observing the deep universe
Thanks to space, scientific knowledge continues to progress, ranging from observing the deep Universe thanks to the extraordinary Planck mission or, more recently, to the James-Webb space telescope, to understanding the fundamental laws of physics with the Microscope mission in particular. through the experiments conducted in microgravity by our astronauts as during the last two missions of Thomas Pesquet.
Ultimately, space is the primary tool for measuring the health of our planet. Satellites, which have been observing the Earth continuously for decades, produce crucial data for expanding knowledge about the environment and biodiversity, observing and understanding the effects of global warming, improving mathematical modeling for meteorology and climate, but also for irrigating public policies in terms of reducing emissions and adapting to climate change.
At the service of all of society, the space also embodies a part of the dreams and faith in progress and science, which is at the heart of the European project and vision. As the President of the Republic said in Toulouse in March, “We Europeans in fact cultivate a certain idea of space as a decentralized gaze on the world and on the human condition, as a common good that should be useful to all”.
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