The space industry is young. The space era kicked off 62 years ago with the Sputnik launch and it was only 50 years ago that humankind first trod the moon, an event we have recently commemorated. There are now about 5000 satellites orbiting the Earth, furnishing society with countless services and driving human progress. In little more than six decades space has won itself a crucial role in many strategically-important sectors like communications, transport, the environment, energy, agriculture and defense and security, but this represents only the merest glimpse of its future prospects.
And if the space sector as a whole is young, in Spain it is even younger. It is an industry made up by a growing number of firms that have managed to win pole position in the worldwide technology race, who have shown themselves to have a quick and sustained growth potential, even in hard times, and who boast a huge dash of creativity and can draw on an enormous pool of talent. Witness the fact that they are now working with their own technology in all activity segments and are playing a standout role in the international arena.
Spain’s government authorities earmark about 500 million euros a year for the provision of space services and the development of space infrastructure and technology. The lion’s share is taken up by Spain’s contribution to ESA, the sector’s main driving force, to the European Union’s space programs and the Ministry of Defense. This outlay, and the underlying public-private collaborative management model, has spawned a buoyant and highly competitive Spanish space industry.
This year, in late November, Seville in Spain will host the Conference at Ministerial Level of the European Space Agency (ESA) where member states will approve ESA budgets for the coming years. For the Spanish space industry the optional programs to be confirmed at this meeting are crucial, taking in as they do a wide range of programs dealing with telecommunications, earth-observation, navigation, launch vehicles, space exploration, space surveillance, planetary defense and technology demonstrators.
The Spanish industry should by rights play a key role of leadership, enabling the country to break into new international markets. To this end it is essential for Spain, as the fourth biggest euro-zone economy, to make a substantial contribution to optional programs, at least at GDP level, bringing its investment level up to that of other countries like Italy, Germany and France.
Experience has shown that cooperation between industries, institutions and states is paramount in the space sector. And this cooperation will be to the fore on 9 and 10 October at the Space Congress to be held at the Madrid congress venue called Palacio de los Duques de Pastrana. This unprecedented congress has been backed by splendid institutional support and has attracted a marquee roster of national and international speakers.
This is a must-attend event. All space stakeholders are duty bound to take due advantage of this magnificent chance to showcase their potential, establish professional links and debate burning issues.
It is an open encounter both for those of us who are convinced that space is a thrilling sector with huge opportunities and those who appreciate its attractiveness and ongoing contribution to the country’s progress.
Jorge Potti, GMV’s General Space Manager and Vice President of the Space Committee of TEDAE
Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV