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SPACE FORUM 2017 16/05/2017
Luxembourg at the center of the global space map

On May 9th and 10th, more than 5,000 of professionals gathered at the European Convention Center Luxembourg to discuss the latest digital, tech and space trends, and notably Space communications, the increasing use of Data, but also planetary defense and space mining, with experts from all over the world sharing their knowledge and vision.

The second edition of the Space Forum was officially opened by Fabien Amoretti, Co-founder of ICT Spring, who expressed is deep gratitude to the Luxembourg government for its support and participation to the event, and called Luxembourg "the ICT place to be".

Space Communications

Serving as Master of Ceremony of first morning of the Space Forum, Olivier Lemaire, Partner, EY, started his presentation by looking back at the history of the space industry, which moved from focusing only on communication and surveillance to a broader perspective: space mining, resourcing and so much more. "Technology has played a big role, changed and disrupted space communication. And Luxembourg recently showed its dynamism in the space area" added Olivier Lemaire.

Yasrine Ibnyahya, Senior System Engineer, Inmarsat, then gave a presentation entitled "Enabling innovation in digital space communications" and highlighted the fact that now her company focuses on core technology and removes investments barriers by partnering with new players. She added: "We also put emphasis on insights, by making sure we actually value the data, and make it available to customers. Satellites are not about rocket science anymore, but are all about data science".

Then, Patrick Biewer, CEO of LuxGovSat, a public joint-venture between the Luxembourg government and SES which was created in 2015, focused on the key drivers for governmental satellite communications. "The complex and non-predictable European and global security environments are very challenging for our industry" he started, highlighting that the value proposition it provides to governments is composed of security, accessibility, flexibility and entrepreneurship.

"Space Communications: Broadband for the Other 3 Billion" was the name of the presentation of Steve Collar, CEO, O3b Networks, whose goal is to provide connectivity to people on the global basis. "In two and a half years, we have connected more than 35 countries" underlined Steve Collar. The CEO defines his mission as fixing the connectivity issues all over the world, and therefore making the world a better place, as it generates economic and social developments. These solutions are delivered via a constellation of satellites.

Jacques Breton, Senior Vice President, Sales & Customers, Arianespace, then took the stage to focus on success enablers. "Currently, people think there is a lack of launch solutions, but there is actually lack of cheap and reliable launchers. Arianespace is one of the most reliable operators with 78 successes in a row" told Mr. Breton, highlighting the fact that many new players are coming, thanks to a lot of technology breakthroughs, such as the reduction of the mass of the satellites, a large variety of sizes and the possibility to reuse launchers.

Olivier Lemaire also moderated a round table which brought together Sam Scimemi (Director for International Space Station (ISS), NASA Headquarters), Frédéric Touret (Alliance Manager, Luxtrust), Yasrine Ibnyahya and Jacques Breton showing the expansion of the space market with many different actors and players sitting at the table. "Many questions are asked, but not many answers are provided. There are a lot of requests for launch solutions and we need to be able to provide them whatever the demand" started Mr. Breton. According to Yasrine Ibnyahya, the industry benefits from lower costs and the entry of new players: "We are able to test more, we don't have to be as conservative as we were". Sam Scimemi insisted on the fact that we are now able to launch new initiatives around the Moon and Asteroids, and highlighted the importance of private-public partnerships. Finally, Frédéric Touret explained the benefits of quantum physics when it comes to security, and that the problem is limitations in distance: "And that is where space comes into the game. We need a relay in space".

Aarti Holla, Secretary General, EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA) then focused on the links between Satcoms and the 5G Ecosystem. "If you are in the ICT and Telco industries, 5G is the theme of the day. Governments all over the world are interested in it". According to her, the space sector is innovating more than ever, and private investment is a good way to start the 5G discussion: reach & inclusion, resilience, quality & cost are the main requirements, through a collaborative approach.

The morning session ended with Dr. Amin Salari, Chairman of Board at Iran Aviation and Space Industries Association, presenting the technology capabilities of Iranian Space SMEs. The association creates an appropriate structure to cooperate as consortium and develops relevant international relationships.

To read the complete release click here.

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