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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: A Reality Check on European Space Capabilities

The European Space Forum 2024 seeks to showcase Europe's strategic role in the global space race, using its distinct ecosystem while navigating the intricate web of international relations. The forum's discussions help determine the future trajectory of European space activities, ensuring that Europe remains relevant and leads in numerous critical areas of space technology and exploration.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion- Space Debris Causes

Space debris around the Earth. Image: ESA

As of 2024, 9,494 active satellites are orbiting Earth according to the "Orbiting Now" statistics. The Government Accountability Office projects this number to increase to 58,000 satellites. This significant growth is driven by private sector initiatives, particularly the development of mega-constellations, with programs like Starlink being among the most extensive. The desire for more precise and secure data transmission is encouraging a wide range of institutions to engage in space-related activities.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Chandrayaan-3: India’s Foothold on the Moon

On Friday, 23rd August 2023, moments after confirming the successful soft landing of the Vikram lander with the words “we are on the Moon,” ISRO Chairman Somnath invited Indian Prime Minister Modi to speak. Unlike September 2019, during the unsuccessful Chandrayaan-2 lander mission, Modi was not in Bangalore but in South Africa, attending a BRICS meeting. This mission, a product of national political and financial commitment, attracted international acclaim.

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#SpaceWatchGL Venture Space – May 2024

Five years ago, a pace of $270m per month in venture investment in the space industry would have been ground-breaking. In 2024, it’s a down month: the second lowest month of the year in terms of venture investment. Still, if the current flow of venture capital into the space industry continues at the rate of the first five months of the year, $7.6b of venture capital will have flowed into space-tech startups by the end of 2024.

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#SpaceWatchGL Interviews – Kai-Uwe Schrogl – “Seville, Brussels – and now?  ESA defines the next steps for space.”

Kai-Uwe Schrogl. Credit of the author

Paris, 27 May 2024. ESA held a Council at Ministerial level meeting last November in Seville and just concluded on 23 May 2024 together with the European Union a Space Council meeting in Brussels. We discussed with Kai-Uwe Schrogl, ESA’s Special Advisor for Political Affairs, where the Agency stands, where success and challenges are, and what to expect in the near future.

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#SpaceWatchGL: Search for Independence – European Prospects in the Field of Solar Weather Monitoring

In the last decade, space weather has become the subject of serious consideration in the scientific community and global scientific organizations. Solar activity plays an important role in both space operations and terrestrial infrastructure. Flares, storms, and coronal mass ejections are all manifestations of solar activity that can affect the operation of satellites, navigation, surveillance, radio communications, and other important structures. As a consequence, there is a need for a reliable and independent ecosystem for monitoring and forecasting solar weather. Today, the European space sector faces the challenge of creating infrastructure capable of competing with existing international initiatives.

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#SpaceWatchGL Geopolitics – Thailand Joined the ILRS – Now What?

CNSA x Thailand

For SpaceWatchers, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Thailand has manifested several of its space ambitions. SWGL has covered the last decade of the country’s space developments at the government and private sector levels. So, when in early April 2024, Thailand became the latest country to join the China-led International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) program,  SWGL assessed it as a significant development in the context of Thailand’s space ambitions. But that needs to be put in perspective. What are the short and long term implications? Let’s find out.

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#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: 10 iconic marketing campaigns in Space

Marketing in outer space seems like an innovative idea, but it has 60+ years of history. Dr. Wernher von Braun, former Marshall Space Flight Center Director, pointed out on July 22, 1969: "Because without public relations we would have been unable to do it". Today, accelerated access to space provides unprecedented opportunities for #advertising stunts and viral marketing. Some campaigns raise ethical, environmental, and regulatory concerns, while others champion sustainability. 

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#SpaceWatchGL Venture Space – March 2024

After a behemoth month of space-tech investment in February ($1.7b), global venture investment in space-tech fell back to earth in March with only $93.96m invested. Europe held three of the four largest investments this month: Multiverse Computing in Spain (€25m), Mbryonics in Ireland (€17.5m), and Blackwave in Germany ($6.6m), with South Africa’s Simera Sense (€13.5m) rounding out the top-four.

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