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Toulouse summit to boost Europe’s space ambitions

Space for a green future. Credit: ESA

Edinburgh, 25 January 2022. – ESA announced a space summit to be held on 16th February in Toulouse, France, to help tackle the “unprecedented societal, economic and security challenges faced by Europe”. The summit aims to identify the necessary steps in rectifying these issues.

The summit will consist of two parts chaired by the French Presidency of the EU, also chairing the ESA Council at ministerial level. The first part will be an informal EU Competitive Council Meeting on Space, attended by EU government ministers and representatives. The second part will be an ESA Council Meeting for ESA member states at ministerial level.

Discussions will be aimed at EU’s strategy for secure connectivity and space traffic management. They will also exchange views on ESA’s three ‘accelerators’ identified by ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher. “Space for a green future” plans to utilize Earth observation data to help mitigate climate change. “Rapid and resilient crisis response” aims to create intelligent interconnectivity in space to enable swift response to crises on Earth. “Protection of space assets” seeks to prevent damage and any disruption to the European space infrastructure. The project will be a collaboration with the EU’s strategy for space traffic management.

ESA is also developing two ‘inspirators’ to boost human space exploration and the search for extra-terrestrial life. The summit will be a milestone in ESA’s Agenda 2025 set out in March last year.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Say YES to diversity and gender equality in the space sector: a look at the Diversity and Gender Equality Project Group of the SGAC

Diversity is difficult to measure and quantify, given all the aspects and shapes it takes, yet it is easy to witness and observe the lack of it in many fields including the space sector. If the space sector and all its disciplines should be used to help improve life on earth and observe it (amongst other purposes), shouldn't it be represented by all terrestrial individuals equally? In an ideal world, yes! But history and social biases have prevented our progress towards this perfect world, and we find ourselves today with a space sector still dominated by cis white-male individuals.