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Public-private collaboration in space to bring diverse advantages, says ESA

Joseph Flaig at the Paris Air Show

(Credit: 3DSculptor/ iStock)
(Credit: 3DSculptor/ iStock)

Blurring of the line between the private and public sector in space will bring many diverse advantages in the coming years, the European Space Agency has said.

Super-fast mobile internet, the removal of space debris and greater understanding of the mysteries of the universe were all predicted by the agency’s board of directors this afternoon at the Paris Air Show. The directors set out their vision of how the sector will evolve at the interactive event, titled “Space 4.Our Future”.

“We have a total change of situation,” said director general Jan Woerner, who was briefly interrupted at one point during the discussion by a thrown cube microphone bouncing off his head. “We are no longer in the Cold War… We have different actors; not only the superpowers, today we have more than 70 spacefaring nations worldwide, plus industry is now providing its own special space vision.”

Private corporations will work more closely with government agencies on space technologies such as launchers and satellites, the directors said. In the U.S., SpaceX has already provided multiple deliveries to the International Space Station. Capabilities provided by launching more satellites in conjunction with companies will include better data for self-driving cars and improved monitoring of potentially dangerous meteorites, the directors said.

“We have introduced this approach of public-private partnerships,” said director of industry Eric Morel de Westgaver. “This approach is now in launch, beyond telecomms, towards observation and navigation.”

Our reporter Joseph Flaig is at the Paris Air Show this week. To contact him, email or follow him on Twitter @Joseph_Flaig.


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