On March 23, the European Space Agency (ESA) released a report, “Revolution Space: European Space Exploration Mission,” prepared by an independent advisory group of international scientists. The report emphasizes the urgent need for European countries to take action to secure their role in space exploration, as inaction could lead to a significant decline in their global importance.
The report serves as a crucial foundation for European nations to advance their space sectors, highlighting the scale of the issue and outlining steps Europe should take. It draws comparisons between the ongoing space revolution and the development of the internet two decades ago, estimating the current value of the space sector at €350-450 billion and forecasting its worth to reach €1 trillion by 2040.
Experts stress that Europe’s security, prosperity, and future are increasingly reliant on space, and immediate action is required to preserve existing assets and ensure future benefits. Key factors to consider include European industry, human potential, and financing opportunities. The cost of inaction, such as wasted human potential, scientific stagnation, and negative impact on Europe’s image, is predicted to significantly outweigh the necessary financial investments.
The report also highlights the importance of public-private partnerships, with public agencies like ESA defining requirements for large-scale infrastructure or missions and encouraging the private sector to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions. A well-functioning collaboration between the public and private sectors, akin to NASA’s Commercial Crew program, is considered essential.
The authors of the report emphasize the vital role of the public sector in supporting the private sector through new financing methods, legal framework preparation, and a clear commitment to understanding the goals at stake. At the same time, public institutions must also prioritize their own development, ensuring competitive remuneration and career prospects to attract young talent.
The report concludes with the suggestion of organizing a 2023 Space Summit, discussing topics such as transforming and revitalizing the European space ecosystem, plans for European lunar landings within a decade, and visionary European space projects for the 2030s and beyond.