Lets talk. Lets cooperate. Lets work together. Can you see where this is going?
MilSpace 2008 just seemed to be one long call for cooperation between different nations and space powers. It seems everybody wants to talk, everyone wants to share costs and make the most of the space assets available to them. Many speakers spoke about creating an environment and neighborhood where everyone works together in policing space and making sure it runs like clockwork.
Can this work though? Can space be this kind of Utopia? Can it be this one place where all nations get together and work together for a common goal? It certainly sounds like a nice idea, but is it realistic? The cynic in me might argue that we don’t always work together on Earth, why will things be any different in space?
The issue of attracting young people to the space industry was the theme of more than one presentation on day two of MilSpace 2008 in Paris.
Speakers agreed that space technologies are more important than ever, but attracting young people into the industry remains a very real issue. While kids growing up in the 1960s were inspired by witnessing men walk on the moon, todayâ€™s children do not have the same inspiration. Does space-related news and events even register on their radars the way it once did? I think we know the answer to that one.
While space-based technologies are playing a more important role in defense as well as everyday life, the industry needs to work harder on getting that message into young peopleâ€™s heads.
MilSpace 2008 seems to be a very different beast than a year ago. I was reading through my notes for MilSpace 2007, and a lot of that show seemed to be about issues such as weaponization in space, expanded military space capabilities and space being the next frontier for warfare.
In 2008, the emphasis has shifted to cooperation and using space technology to everyoneâ€™s overall benefit. Or maybe the Paris air has gotten to me?
A French government report about space defense policy published in mid-2007 recommended increased investments in military space capabilities. But the report has led to little action, said retired Gen. Bernard Molard, defence and security advisor to the CEO, EADS Astrium. â€œWe are used to beautiful words with no action,â€ he told the audience.
However, Molard generally was positive and gave an upbeat assessment of French political thinking towards military space spending in the future, as there seems to be an apparent willingness on the behalf of President Nicolas Sarkozyâ€™s administration to increase its investments in military space. A white paper on defense and national security due to be published soon is set to lead to increased investments in military space capabilities, Molard indicated.
However, while the talk is impressive, Molard remains somewhat cautious until new initiatives are set in stone. Words may be impressive, but they are just words at this stage. Over to you, President Sarkozy.
On a beautiful hot summer day (It feels like summer) in Paris, the SMi MilSpace 2008 show opened with speakers discussing changes and developments in the European military space arena.
The key word in most of the morning presentations was â€œdual,â€ as multiple speakers discussed marrying different needs, including a strategy that involves the military and commercial sectors working more closely together. In the case of many European nations, a dual space policy will allow them to own national assets, yet at the same time part of an integrated European space policy. Everyone wants to promote the European message but at the same time not lose sight of their own national interests and, critically, maintain some level of independence over space policy.