FIA Spacezone: Space Day – Space Conference

I was excited to be invited by ESA to attend the Space
Conference at the Farnborough International Airshow, on Tuesday 10th
July, to help publicise the event via twitter and social media. Several top figures from ESA, Roscosmos and other space agencies gave presentations.

J J Dordain (ESA), F Profumo (Italy), D Willets (UK), V Popovkin (Roscosmos)

The Italian Minister for Education, Francesco Profumo,
stressed the importance of ESA in enabling Europe to share space costs, leading
to progression even through the financial crisis.
Jean Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA, put his
emphasis on the need to change quickly, as things are constantly changing
around us, with competitiveness and growth as the mantras for the future, and adding
that both the UK and ESA had learnt a lot from each other.
The Head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, stated that Russia
remains the leader in many space activities, though also spoke of the need to
change with the times, with the commercialisation of space. Russia’s priorities
are practical benefits from space, and exploring interplanetary systems, involving
both private business and international co-operation. He also mentioned the
need to modernise international space law. “I’m very glad that today we have
mutual solutions with Europe on programmes such as Mars, the Moon and
satellites of Jupiter.”

David Willetts speaking
David Willetts, UK Minister for Universities and Science,
talked about the 300 million euro contract placed by ESA with UK space industry
to build solar orbiter, the largest single contract in two decades, and the
twelve new companies already established at the ESA facility in Harwell,
together with the first instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
having been delivered by the UK earlier this year. “I am pleased we have
identified a viable way forward for Exomars following NASA’s withdrawal. I
would like to give my gratitude to our Russian friends for stepping into the
breach with us and other ESA member states so the mission can proceed”.
In November, there is an ESA ministerial conference which
will set out the agency’s direction for the next five years.
To hear some of the speeches in full, visit ESA’s website.