As the EU sets out to make its mark in space, it must navigate a multi-polar system with new actors – from countries to private companies – regularly emerging onto the scene. 58 countries currently have spaced-based assets which contribute significantly to vital functions of the global economy and high-tech societies. As space technology improves, strategic interdependence is a key issue. While international treaties do exist – including on the exploration and use of outer space, activities on the moon and other celestial bodies, and so on – the agreements are relics of the last century and may need to be revisited to meet current needs.
As part of this effort, policymakers will need to address the need for an enhanced regulatory environment both within the EU and internationally, enabling the bloc’s space engineers and scientists to better engage with politicians. The EU faces other major space challenges as well, including the need to bring together three layers – infrastructure, data resources from space, and artificial intelligence – something never done before. And to ensure that Europeans enjoy preferential access to their own space capabilities, the challenge is acquiring and installing the technology for independently storing all EU space data. Will this require a different approach to data sharing?
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:
- Can the EU’s current regulatory and governing framework be made fit for purpose to deal with the new challenges associated with best use of space data?
- How can the EU create the right mix of ambition and policy know-how to successfully navigate a multi-polar system in space?
- How can the EU seize this opportunity to create a competitive advantage and lead global developments in space?
Legal Counsel and Head of the Legal Services Department at the European Space Agency (ESA)
Emeritus Professor of International Law at Western Sydney University, Australia
Secretary General, EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA)
Associate Space Law Officer at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Director, Asia, Peace, Security & Defense, Digital & Chief spokesperson
Marco Ferrazzani has worked at the European Space Agency (ESA) since 1988. In his current role, he provides legal advice and guidance, advising the organisation and its member states on the legal and institutional solutions to the challenges of carrying out space programmes. In this capacity, he serves as advisor to the ESA Director General and the ESA Council on all institutional and legal matters. Ferrazzani also represents the Agency as Head of Delegation to the Legal Sub-Committee of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and sits on a number of boards, including those of the European Centre for Space Law and the International Institute of Space Law.
Steven Freeland is Emeritus Professor of International Law at Western Sydney University. He is a Member of the Australian Space Agency Advisory Board and has been an advisor to several Governments on issues relating to national space legislative frameworks and policy. He has represented the Australian Government at Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS) meetings and has also been appointed by UNCOPUOS to co-chair multilateral discussions on the exploration, exploitation and utilisation of space resources, in June 2021. He is a Co-Principal of specialised space law firm Azimuth Advisory and a Director of the International Institute of Space Law, and a Member of the Space Law Committee of the International Law Association and the Space Law and War Crimes Committees of the International Bar Association.
Aarti Holla-Maini has been Secretary General of the ESOA since 2004. She is a Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Space, the WEF Global 5G Coalition Network and the WEF Essential Digital Infrastructure & Services Network. Under Aarti’s leadership, ESOA & its member CEOs lead the effort to showcase the benefits of satellite communications for a more inclusive and secure society – vital to bridging the world’s digital divide, achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and realizing the 5G ecosystem. Aarti has 23 years’ experience in the aerospace industry, starting at Daimler-Benz Aerospace/EADS (now Airbus) in Germany. In 2000, she moved to Brussels, representing Airbus interests in the European satellite navigation program: Galileo.
Yukiko Okumura works on the Space Law for New Space Actors project at the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). With a PhD in space law from Japan’s Keio University, she previously served as a postdoctoral researcher in this field and then in the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Legal and Compliance Office where she dealt with international space law as well as other legal matters. Okumura has also worked at the Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security of the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) where she gained her expertise in designing and delivering capacity-building programmes and training courses. She has lectured on space and international law at the National Defense Academy of Japan and other universities.
Prior to joining Friends of Europe, Dharmendra Kanani was director of policy at the European Foundation Centre (EFC). He was the England director at the Big Lottery Fund, the largest independent funder in the UK and fourth largest in the world. Dharmendra has held senior positions in the public and voluntary sector and advisor to numerous ministerial policy initiatives across the UK.
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