Global Space Agency Leaders Share Views
Although some space agency leaders were unable to participate in the 29th National Space Symposium, the participating panelists from four agencies shed light on the responsibilities and concerns of space agency leaders from around the globe.
The discussion was moderated by Yasushi Horikawa, Ph.D., chairman, United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and included (pictured, left, in order):
- Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general, European Space Agency (ESA)
- Hideshi Kozawa, executive advisor to the President for international cooperation and new business, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
- Ger Nieuwpoort, Ph.D., director, Netherlands Space Office (NSO)
- Johann-Dietrich Wörner, chairman of the executive board, German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Dordain said that space science provides indispensable tools for long time development of space capabilities and that "We need to show strong commitment to build international cooperation and understanding" because "investing in space is investing in growth." Noting that Galileo launches continue with success, Dordain said that ESA will be launching an Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to the International Space Station (ISS) annually.
Noting that JAXA has a new mid-term plan, Hideshi said the agency will be launching three new JAXA satellites this year and that this summer will see the use of a new three-stage rocket. He underscored collaboration by saying that more than 380 participants in the international community support the JAXA program.
Nieuwpoort said that "space is in transition from technology-driven to user-driven," which has changed NSO's focus from intra-European cooperation and technology to driving user-based needs. He said that the Netherlands will focus on two developments: mini-RADAR and hyperspectral thermal infrared radiometer (TIR) instruments. And, he went on to say that "only the commercial space sector can allow us vitality."
Citing pressure to legitimize space exploration, Wörner said, "You must ask those who question space exploration if they want the luxuries space provides them today." He said that space exploration can solve global challenges, giving examples such as electric cars and electronic prosthetics.