To date, the space sector has mainly highlighted how space benefits industry. But independent space data can also have far-reaching societal applications. It is a vital tool in the creation of a scorecard to track how the world is progressing in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – including through multi-variable analysis and data crossing which can lead to advances in fields such as poverty reduction. Such data can also have an impact on conservation efforts – in Malawi, forest coverage has grown thanks to the sharing of satellite data with indigenous groups and civil society, rather than just the government.
Going forward, satellite data must be combined with societal data supplied by industry and scientists. In doing so, experts must decide what they want to get from space data when planning the design of future missions – flagging the importance of incorporating a more societal aspect into EU space policy. This could be done through better governance and regulation, which in turn would help regulate the predicted boom in private sector spaceflight.
Held in advance of the first European Space Summit, this invitation-only dinner debate will look at the importance incorporating a more societal element into EU space policy.
This debate is part of Friends of Europe’s Making Space Matter initiative, in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA).
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Questions for discussion include:
- How can the missing social pillar be more effectively incorporated into EU space policy?
- How can current institutional and regulatory arrangements be future-proofed to maximise the use of social data from future missions?
- Which societal challenges should be prioritised in the applications of space data?
Head of the European Space Agency’s Brussels Office
Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson
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