Ibadan, 1 March 2023. – The Small Satellites & Services International Forum (SSSIF) congress concluded yesterday in Malaga, Spain, after three days in which experts from the space sector gathered to discuss and reflect on the innovation of the international space sector, the present challenges and the future needs of small satellites. Renowned professionals from NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the new Spanish Space Agency attended the forum.
The event had several keynote speakers, including Andrés Martínez, Executive Director of Space Programs of the Advanced Exploration Systems Division of NASA. Martínez discussed the needs and challenges of NASA’s next mission to Mars and highlighted NASA’s willingness to collaborate with the future Spanish Space Agency. Martinez also affirmed that governments and private initiatives “have to go hand in hand” because the latter needs, in addition to financial support, regulations that may not currently exist.
Regarding the challenges and needs of the future in the small satellite market, Jordi Puig, emeritus professor at the Polytechnic University of California, and creator of the CubeSat standard, also shared the need to design small satellites differently. Puig said, “the way we design satellites as unique, highly optimized, is not compatible with some of the standardization and mass production phenomena that we are seeing right now, and we have to start thinking differently.”
The forum also enjoyed discussions about the legal framework of space, cybersecurity in the satellite field, and the challenges of defense, among
other topics. For example, keynote speaker, Brigadier General Juan Carlos Sánchez Delgado of the Spanish Air and Space Army, disclosed the growing importance of space from the perspective of security and defense and how it has become “an important role and an increasingly contested domain.”