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Partners for Space Exploration - Talking Partnership

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Ideas sprang up, questions kept coming and the debate was alive.
Nearly 100 participants attended the workshop “Partners for Space Exploration”, a whole day event that looked into new ways to work with the private sector held on 17 July 2015 in ESTEC, the Netherlands.

The views were as varied as the audience, but there was one word shared over and over: partnership.
Speakers from European and US industry, together with representatives of ESA Member States and International Space Station partners, discussed novel avenues to advance ESA space exploration strategy.

There is an emergence of private sector initiatives that we cannot ignore. ESA wants to take on new approaches, and we are excited about exploring all possibilities for mutual benefit” said during his opening remarks Thomas Reiter, ESA Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations.
Thomas Reiter - ESA’s Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations

Taking a fresh look, the workshop helped develop clear recommendations for ESA’s way forward.



  • Set up a clear, robust strategy with long-term commitments.
  • Increase engagement with the private sector earlier on in the definition of roadmaps.
  • Create awareness of the opportunities for space & non-space industry.
  • Capitalise on the already existing commercial initiatives.
  • Promote flexibility to allow innovative strategies.
  • Focus investment in R&D to strengthen European industry.
  • Encourage spin-in initiatives and the participation of non-space companies.
  • Communicate on benefits.
  • Draw flexible business plans, yet financially robust.
  •  Share entry risks with industry.
  • Look for synergies and customers in other space and non-space domains.
  • Foster industry-to-industry partnerships beyond national boundaries.


The Industry Session
The Industry Session

>> Link to the Picture Gallery

Any ideas?

The workshop was one step further in implementing the ESA Space Exploration Strategy.
Videos of the workshop and further information about the status of the Call for Ideas will be posted on this web site. Stay tuned!

Check out the Call for Ideas issued last March to learn more about how ESA is trying to explore new paths for space exploration.

If you have any comments or innovative partnership ideas, you can still email us at


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