When humans go to space, it’s not because it is easy but because they choose to. The very recent foray of humans in space is only 63 years old and was born in the cold conflict of ideologies. As such, politics and policies have always been linked to space ventures. However, recent years have seen the rise of many more diversified actors such as small businesses with smaller and more commercially competitive satellites. At the same time, state actors have taken a stronger stance on acknowledging space as a new field of operation as the Americans made clear with the inauguration of a “Space Force” or France with a new Space Command. Seen as a new Far West by some, regulations and laws in space are, at best, loose and at worst, nonexistent. The new paradigm of a closer, unclaimed and more accessible space environment calls for new policies that would prevent the uncontrolled consequences stemming from the massive arrival of new actors. With an orbit plane that gets more and more crowded every day, 21st century Earth is at a key turning point and we must decide what we want the future to look like. Because if we do indeed choose to go to space, we must do it well. And it will be hard.
Space Traffic Management: Paving the Way or Establishing Dominance?
WRC 2019: New Radiofrequencies Management for Short Duration Missions
Recognition of Space as an Operational Domain
Overcrowding the Orbit: Which Impact for Astronomical Observation?
Houston, we need a scientist! After millions of years of evolution, the human body has fully adapted to terrestrial conditions. This also means that many changes arise when astronauts spend time in space conditions, and it teaches us a lot about our physiology.
Space is also more than just weightlessness and radiation. It presents many challenges to sustain life: confinement, isolation, nutrition, circadian rhythm, heavy workload, etc. It is also necessary to develop new life support systems that do not rely on frequent resupplies to provide oxygen, water, and food. All these challenges need to be addressed to prepare future interplanetary missions to the Moon and Mars.
What happens to the human body in microgravity?
Before going to Mars, how to increase radiation resistance in astronauts?
Rotifers in space, what can we learn from them?
Supporting life in space: Bacterial production of Oxygen
From satellites, to launchers, space stations, telecommunications, and science instruments: the space sector is full of innovative and state-of-the-art technologies that need engineers and graduates with technological backgrounds. Topic 3 will show you some of these technologies that Belgian companies are developing.
• To Jupiter and Back Again
The Challenges of Communication at a distance of 900 Million kilometers
• Radiation in space
How to build stuff that can handle it
• Satellites, the technology of the future
What can a satellite do for Earth?
Space is the next frontier which is explored already for several decades. But it is also a global system where human kind developed solutions and resources for our everyday life. As such space become a natural part of our environment and its essential links with Earth’s activities lead to consider wider perspectives on sustainability, together with the current promotion of the Green Deal.
• The Clean Space initiative and the environmental impact of space activities
• Guaranteeing our society's sustainability through Earth observation
• Asteroids as a threat and opportunity
• Building resilience as a multi-planetary species
Space missions allow exploring the Solar System, including our Sun, and beyond. Questions like the habitability of Mars in the past, or the possibility of life within the icy moons of the gas giant planets in our solar system, are intriguing humankind. Asteroids provide information on the building blocks of our Solar System. Furthermore, there might be habitable planets outside of our solar system, so-called exoplanets. Our Universe is vast, and its origin and evolution are fascinating.
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 trending use of Artificial Intelligence in dealing with Emergency and Security Space services.
NewSpace is a global industry of private and public companies seeking to profit from innovative products or services developed for or in space, that primarily targets commercial customers and are backed by risk capital seeking a return. (NewSpace Global)
The NewSpace industry is not only defined by rapid inventions, lower costs, and rideshare, but also commercially available parts and incremental development. The barriers to access space technologies are being reduced and this is the core of this revolution/evolution, together with the innovations in computer sciences such as cloud computing and machine learning. (GeospatialWorld)
What is covered by the concept of NewSpace
How to adapt classical technologies to the NewSpace constraints
Information coming from satellites touches each of our lives in many different ways. Whether as a farmer managing their crops or reducing their use of pesticides, as a driver finding your way to an unknown destination and driving along improved and safer roads, or simply as a householder benefiting from a more secure gas connection, everybody is benefiting in sometimes unexpected ways. These are just a few examples; there are many more.
In this topic we shall discuss how observing satellites are transforming the way we live in ways which are largely unknown. We’ll show how they are benefiting all of us from decision makers in government and industry, to engineers and farmers working with the land, to ship’s captains’ navigating through ice and storms, to you and me and the safety of our families. We shall discuss the multiple ways in which we are benefiting, and we shall look at ways to quantify this.
The wide range of applications of satellite data and hence the markets which are addressed brings exciting opportunities for businesses. There are over 650 companies in Europe offering to meet the needs of the market and the number is growing steadily. Overall, the sector is growing at a rate of 10% each year both in revenues and employment. Many new companies are being formed each year right across Europe. Finding employees with the right skills is becoming an issue and potentially a brake on the sector development. We shall discuss what particular skills are needed by the key players in the sector.