Space Applications: Serving the Citizens of Europe, Workshop, 20 May, London

May 15, 2003

Brussels, 14 May 2003

London, 20 May 2003

Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science and Technology, UK
Philippe Busquin, Member of the European Commission, responsible for Research and Space Policy
Antonio Rodotà, Director-General of the European Space Agency

Green Paper on European Space Policy, consultation event

Theme: Space Applications in the Service of Citizens of Europe

Tuesday, 20 May 2003

Workshop starts at 9:00

Press conference at 11:30

Holiday Inn Regent's Park

Carburton Street, London W1W 5EE

Tel + 44 870 400 911

The European Commission and the European Space Agency are jointly organising a series of consultation events across Europe, to accompany and stimulate the debate around the recently adopted European Space Policy Green Paper.

You are cordially invited to attend the London event, which will take place on Tuesday 20 May 2003. This workshop will focus in particular on the critical issue of space applications, and the role of Europe in this fast developing area (see enclosed background). It will gather leading EU policy makers, leaders of the European space industry, researchers and other stakeholders. Discussions will cover key areas such as telecommunications, navigation and localisation and earth observation

A Press conference will take place at 11:30. Speakers will also be available for interviews.

Contributions to the Space Green Paper consultation can also be submitted through a dedicated on-line Forum. On the basis of contributions received from all interested parties, a White Paper with a detailed Action Plan will be presented by the European Commission at the end of 2003.

Note for Editors

For additional information on the Green Paper and the ongoing consultation

For additional information on this press event, please contact

Patrick Vittet-Philippe

Press and Information Officer, Research DG , European Commission,

Tel: +32.2.2969056, Mobile: + 32 477 4663


Donna Reay

Strategy And Policy for Sustainable Transport, DG Research, European Commission,

Tel + 32 2 299 3769


Franco Bonacina
Spokesman and Head of Media Relations Services
European Space Agency
Tel + 33 1 5369 7713

Spokesman for Commissioner Busquin:

Fabio Fabbi

Tel +32 2 296.41.74



To confirm your attendance, please send e-mail or fax back enclosed form to

Monique Septon, Information and Communication Unit

Research DG , European Commission

Fax + 32 2 295 8220



Consultation event and press conference

Space Applications: Serving the Citizens of Europe

20 May 2003

PLEASE FAX BACK TO + 32 2 295 8220

Yes I will attend the workshop and press conference on 20 May 2003

Name ____________________________________________________


Press Card No _____________________________________________

No, I am unable to attend, but would like to receive further information


The idea of applying space technologies to our needs here on Earth is not new. Europe, with its extensive programmes of space-based scientific research, earth observation and communications, has a strong tradition of producing beneficial spin-offs. Today, business opportunities related to space technology applications remain enormous.

From Earth to space, and back again

The European space industry has developed numerous technologies now being used in ground-based applications. The investment made in European space research is thus directly resulting in concrete improvements in the quality of life and security of citizens in Europe.

From the beginning, the high-risk nature of space activities has made reliability a key requirement. Wherever possible, designers have sought to use tried and trusted methods and materials. The earliest space systems were based on established, proven technologies, themselves spin-offs from the defence and arms industries. What space programmes have done over the last 40 years is to invest in raising these technologies to new levels of performance and capacity, perfecting them to unprecedented levels, resulting in many new and beneficial applications back here on Earth.

More examples of "down to earth" space technology:

Electro-optic sensors for meteorological satellites such as ESA`s ENVISAT and ERS missions to monitor the Earth environment are now being used on cameras in the offshore drilling sector to take pictures through oil inside wells.

The SPADD (Smart Passive Damping Device) used to protect satellites and space structures from vibrations during launch is now also used to reduce the noise of concrete mixers caused by mechanical shocks in the gear mechanism.

Guidance & INto the Ground Exploration Radar (GINGER), developed for planetary missions, e.g. to investigate the Martian surface, is now being used in various earth-based applications such as geophysical investigations, the search of buried objects, measurements of thickness or properties of non-metallic materials and detection of anti-personnel-mines.

A computer algorithm that can extract meaningful information from X-ray data gathered by the ROSAT satellite can powerfully assist the physician in the diagnosis of initial malignant melanomas.

The European Simulation Language (ESL) software package, used for modelling highly complex systems, is currently employed by water utilities to help ensure that drinking water is kept free from unwanted bacteria.

Measurement systems and test procedures to quantify the performance of a robot and generate improvements through calibration is now being applied to robots in production lines, such as those used in automobile manufacturing.

The 'Mamagoose' baby pyjamas applies technology developed for a suit to study the respiration of astronauts in space to a suit for monitoring infants during sleep, sounding an alarm at the first symptoms of cot death.

Other concrete, daily life examples include space radar systems adapted to detect cracks in the roofs and walls of mine shafts; spectrographic systems that can recognise and colour-match over 30,000 different colours and shades in fabrics and textiles; "non stick" frying pans, and even a packaging machine that can drop a potato crisp into a bag without breaking it!

Space – a trend setter

Space has been at the forefront of technology trends for decades. The demand for smaller and lighter materials and systems, for example, was largely stimulated by the space industry. Computers are a case in point. Early computers filled whole rooms and there was no particular reason at that time to want to make them smaller. The need to produce small, powerful, self-contained computers for space-related applications ultimately led to the development of PCs as we know them, as well as many other intelligent devices in areas as diverse as cars and medical technologies

Beyond computer technologies, the sheer range of applications to which space research - much of which is undertaken in Europe - can contribute is fascinating. The same technologies now assist the astronomer using the Hubble Space Telescope to study the cosmos and the biologist seeking to understand the workings of the human cell. Materials developed to protect space instrumentation from the heat of launcher engines can now be found in theatre seat upholstery, reducing the risk of fire.

Business opportunities beyond the space industry

Space technologies offer countless possibilities in terms of practical ground-based applications. As such, they represent exciting opportunities for players other than those within the "traditional" space industry - including small- and medium-sized enterprises, service providers, content providers and private and public users. Space is a crucial link in the competitive knowledge-based society. Digital television, third generation mobile communications and the Internet are good examples of service platforms to which space-systems contribute.

At this critical juncture, therefore, priority must be given to the ongoing process of transferring space technologies from the research sector to the industry sector – in short to shift from research to innovation and commercial application. It is equally essential to support research aimed at industrial applications and value-added services that go beyond the strict context of space.

Key Questions for Debate

"What are the conditions for the emergence of economically viable and competitive applications and space services for citizens and industries?" "Will political actions be justified, and, if this is the case, to what extent could public support be considered necessary?" are among the key questions raised by the Green Paper, which will be discussed at the London event.

DG Research ndex_en.html /2003/pr1305en.html

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