As we reach the middle point of WSBW, smallsats and space exploration have become the topics of the day.
Smallsat manufacturers GomSpace, SSTL, Aerospacelab, Millenium Space Systems, Terran Orbital and Hemeria took to the stage to discuss everything from how current and future supply chain issues will impact their business, whether vertical integration is the path to follow, and whether having a key prime partner, such as SSTL’s relationship with Airbus or Terran’s with Lockheed, could be a key to success and longevity.
As space exploration once again is brought to the forefront of the public’s attention with the upcoming Artemis programme and the push towards Mars, 4 key space agencies (NASA, ESA, Australia and Luxembourg) graced the stage to discuss the importance of private company participation in the future of space exploration, spoiler, not only is public-private cooperation important but fundamental to its success. It was also exciting to have confirmation from Jim Free, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Exploration, that there will be a further Artemis 1 launch attempt on the 27th of September.
It was also great to have a rebuttal to the doom and gloom we have been hearing about investment drying up in the industry from the VC community today with Seraphim Capital, Voyager and Karista discussing the space business from their perspective. The entire panel agreed that, far from drying out, investment into the industry is still at extremely high levels, with many funding rounds still oversubscribed, albeit slower than in previous years.
Given the current geopolitical situation and recent specific attacks on European Satcom infrastructure, another hugely important conversation surrounding secure connectivity in Europe took place today with involvement from the European Commission, ESA, EUSPA and the EDA. Catherine Kavvada from the EC reminded us that, although the concept of the need for secure connectivity pre-dates the invasion of Ukraine, the war has helped shape a consensus on the way forward.
Now, we look forward to the remaining days of the event where Earth Observation gets its chance in the hot seat.