NOTnew Chinese space station, Indian manned flights expected next year, first recent launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) and return to the NASA Moon, incessant take-offs of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launcher to put thousands of satellites into orbit… Major programs and announcements are multiplying 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 November 22 and 23, which will decide on its funding for the next three years.
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 a tool of sovereignty and a powerful lever for growth.
Autonomous European access to space allows our armies and our governments to have satellite means to observe, listen and communicate in a safe manner. The European Union’s major telecommunications constellation projects are, moreover, essential to complement existing systems.
Observing the Deep Universe
Thanks to space, scientific knowledge continues to progress, ranging from the observation of the deep Universe thanks to the extraordinary Planck mission or, more recently, the James-Webb space telescope, to the apprehension of fundamental laws of physics with in particular the Microscope mission, through the experiments carried out in microgravity by our astronauts as during the last two missions of Thomas Pesquet.
Finally, space is the main tool for measuring the health of our planet. Satellites, which have been continuously observing the Earth for decades, produce crucial data to expand knowledge related to the environment and biodiversity, observe and understand the effects of global warming, improve mathematical modeling for meteorology and climate, but also to irrigate public policies in terms of reducing emissions and adapting to climate change.
At the service of all of society, space also embodies a part of dreams and confidence in progress and in science, which is at the heart of the European project and vision. As the President of the Republic said in March in Toulouse, “We Europeans indeed cultivate a certain idea of space as a decentered look at the world and at the human condition, as a common good that should be useful to everyone”.
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