Europe's youth and young professionals react to space policy proposals

July 30, 2003

Brussels, 29 Jul 2003

A group of youths and young professionals working in the field of space have contributed to the debate on a European space policy with a list of recommendations, including a focus on non-conventional technologies in order to develop an inexpensive launcher capacity for Europe.

The 'space generation advisory council' (SGAC) is a voluntary body representing youth and young space professionals to the United Nations, individual countries and space agencies. The European section of the council drafted the recommendations following a series of meetings, online discussions and an online survey involving around 150 young people from all EU countries.

'We believe the ideas of young people should be heard in the consultation process, since we represent the future of the space industry and are European citizens who will benefit in the future from any shift in policy,' state the recommendations.

'The EU should increase investment in space carefully, strategically and substantially to offset a growing US monopoly, and to become a true, unified space power at this critical time,' the document continues.

Among the key recommendations is the rescaling of programmes to develop an economically competitive launch capability for Europe by concentrating efforts on non-conventional technologies. The SGAC describes Europe's launcher capacity as commercially competitive, but a fundamental bottle neck because it is not cost-effective. Investment in non-conventional technologies 'is likely to pay off by allowing the EU to capture a part of the expanded space market that would result from more affordable access to space. Its development would allow Europe to leapfrog current technology and help alleviate the space bottleneck,' claims the SGAC.

The document also proposes the expansion of cutting edge programmes such as human spaceflight and outer solar system exploration, which the SGAC believes would inspire students and reduce the numbers turning away from science and technology.

The SGAC would also like to see a centre for strategic interdisciplinary research established, ensuring long term and innovative research, and an increase in public visibility of Europe's space activities. This could be done by setting aside one per cent of all space budget for education and outreach activities, suggests the SGAC.

'Our recommendations combine the idealism and vision of young people with the realism gained from our first steps within the space sector during our studies and employment,' claims the paper. To access the recommendations, please visit: s/EU/EUSpacePolicy21.6.03.pdf

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities

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