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Topic 6

Space security and Defense

Space security and Defense

As identified in the space work programme of the European Union, the number of space actors, public and private, is increasing, and with them comes the development of new space technologies and markets (such as reusable launchers, mass produced small satellites, in-orbit servicing and operations, space mining, sub-orbital flights). As a result, the number of objects in orbit will likely increase dramatically in the near future as well as new types of activities are emerging raising concerns for launcher operations, safe access to and operations in space and long-term sustainability of space. To cope with this evolution, those future space operations from the Newspace may require new technical guidelines or new best practices for "Space Traffic Management" (STM) in order to preserve the space environment. This evolution is currently taking place in the US with the expected involvement of the Department of Commerce on space safety. Europe must be an actor of this change in order to maintain its autonomy for safely accessing and using space. Indeed, in 2019 French president declared the creation of a space force command, paving the way to close links between space security and defence.

This topic will address the major building blocks and the latest development linked to STM, Secure Communication, development of quantum technologies as well as the Geospatial Intelligence domain and the trending use of Artificial Intelligence in dealing with Emergency and Security Space services.


  • Space Traffic Management and SST

  • Govsatcom and Quantum technologies

  • Geospatial Intelligence

  • AI in emergency and security services  

  • Towards a Space Command?

Recorded Topic 6 Presentations
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Sabri Mekaoui

Project adviser at European Commission Research Executive Agency

Sabri Mekaoui is in charge of the evaluation and the technical implementation of Space projects funded by the European Commission. His project portfolio includes Earth observation technologies and applications, Govsatcom and instrumentation for Lunar exploration. Sabri was instrument scientist during the last Columbia shuttle flight STS 107. Sabri holds a PhD of Engineering from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and a master of space science and techniques from the University of Liège. Sabri studied mathematics and physics at the University of Tunis and he is an Almuni of the International Space University. 


Sabri has grown up in Metlaoui, in Southern Tunisia, not far from the Star Wars planet Tatooine desert.

GOVSATCOM and Public Services


Pascal Claudel

Acting Executive Director/Chief Operating Officer (COO) at European GNSS Agency (GSA)

As the Acting Executive Director of the GSA, Pascal Claudel's mission is to ensure efficient and effective management of the Agency's Galileo service, EGNOS and lead the agency's operational corporate activities. Mr Claudel has over 30 years of experience dedicated to the Space sector in positions ranging from strategic to operational in Arianespace, Starsem, Thales Alenia Space.

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Quantum in space to secure communication


Gilles Lequeux

Electromechanical engineer at the Free University of Brussels

Mr. Gilles Lequeux is electromechanical engineer from the Free University of Brussels. He also received a Master degree of Business and Administration delivered by the European University of Paris.


He came into the EUROPEAN COMMISSION in early 1996. He was Officer in the field of energy research and technologies under the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. In this field he was also responsible for the development of the European strategy and international cooperation. More recently, he joined the Galileo and EGNOS program and contributed to the development of the European Union Satellite Navigation Policy and the definition of strategic orientations.


In his current position in DG DEFIS, Mr. Gilles Lequeux is in charge of the development of the European Union quantum technology policy for space-based applications.

Satellite hacking: how to secure space

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Nicola De Quattro

Head of Engineering and Innovation at Vitrociset Belgium S.R.L.

Nicola De Quattro is currently the Head of Engineering and Innovation at Vitrociset Belgium. He has background in telecommunications engineering and remote sensing and has worked for twelve years as systems engineer for telecommunications, earth observation, science and navigation missions. In the last five years working for Galileo 2nd Generation, he has been involved in systems engineering activities, among other topics, for the development of new secure communications concepts and experimental payloads concept design.

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SatCen and the Geospatial Intelligence domain


Sergio Albani 

Head of Research, Technology Development and
Innovation (RTDI) Unit at the European Union Satellite Centre

Sergio Albani is the Head of Research, Technology Development and Innovation (RTDI) Unit at the European Union Satellite Centre. He is in charge of implementing new operational solutions in the Space and Security domain looking at the whole EO and collateral data lifecycle; this is performed by exploiting new data acquisition systems, secure satellite communications, emerging technologies and innovative EO based solutions. He is responsible for several H2020 projects as well as ESA Point of Contact and GEO Principal Alternate. Mr. Albani holds a Master’s Degree in Physics (Astrophysics and Space Physics branch) and a 2nd Level Specializing Master in Journalism and Scientific & Institutional Communication.

AI in emergency and security services

Benoit Deper

Founder of Aerospacelab

Benoit Deper founded Aerospacelab in 2017 after previous employments in the small satellite department at NASA Ames Research Center, as a Young Graduate Trainee at ESA ESTEC, a hypersonic UAV project lead in a consortium with Dassault Aviation and a research associate stay at IMD Business School in Switzerland.

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