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Europe in space: why are we travelling to space?

On March 9, 2021,the Netherlands Atlantic Youth and Socrates International Honour Society organized:

Europe in space: why are we travelling to space?

On 9 March, the Netherlands Atlantic Youth, in collaboration with Socrates, held a webinar titled Europe in space: Why are we travelling to space? In recent years, space travel has been booming once more. The US, Europe, China, Russia, Japan and others have all performed exploratory space missions. At the same time, militarization of space is taking place. The number of military satellites is increasing steadily and countries have been developing more and more anti-satellite weapons. Several countries have even started their own space force.

Europe has been participating in this new space race as well. ESA has been undertaking several large, scientific space missions. At the same time, some EU member states have taken steps towards developing military space capabilities.

In this webinar, both the civilian and military developments in space were addressed. Joerg Wehner, the head of ESA’s Institutional and Infrastructure Coordination Office, talked about the missions of ESA, but also the required cooperation between member states to make ESA viable. In addition, he discussed the cooperation between ESA and the other great powers.

Patrick Bolder, Strategic Analyst at the Hague Centre of Strategic Studies (HCSS) talked about the militarization of space and the role of the EU therein. He also addressed the military activities of the other great powers in space.

After their contributions, members of the virtual audience had the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists during an interactive Q&A.

We ended the meeting with an open discussion on the importance of cooperation and competition in space.

This event was online. You can watch the recording here.

Photo: Vadim Sadovski/Shutterstock.com

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