A new organisation called SME4SPACE, a panel of SME space associations representing most of the ESA Member States, will officially be launched on 19 June at this year’s International Paris Air Show.
At 11:30 in the ESA Pavilion, located between the Ariane 4 and Ariane 5 mock-ups, ESA Director General J.J. Dordain will sign a Memorandum of Agreement formalising cooperation between ESA and SME4SPACE. The aim of this new organisation is to facilitate SME access to space activities in general and to ESA programmes in particular.
This event will include:
- the official launch of SME4SPACE by James Barrington-Brown, SME4SPACE Vice Chairman
- the presentation of the Memorandum of Agreement and its signature by ESA Director General J.J. Dordain and SME4SPACE Chairman, G. Sylos-Labini
- a demonstration of the SineQuaNet database by Nora Bougharouat, Head of ESA's SME Unit
- a general discussion on SME needs and the best way of increasing their contribution to space
ESA intends to derive maximum benefit from innovative, dynamic and entrepreneurial SMEs by drawing on their skills, expertise and cost-effectiveness for its programmes. Although the SME contribution to ESA programmes has increased in recent years, there is still potential to do more in this respect and ESA intends trying a number of approaches to achieve this.
One approach is closer cooperation with European SME organisations to acquire better understanding of their needs and expectations; the launch of SME4SPACE is an important step forward in this direction.
On the same occasion, ESA will present the main results of the ESA/European Commission project SineQuaNet (Space Intelligence, Engineering and Quality Network) launched at the end of 2005 and the setting up a network of experts and laboratories to help SMEs enhance their engineering skills and facilitate their participation in space projects.