European Space Week starts today in Estonia
When is the last time you used space technology? Probably a matter of minutes ago, if you took bearings on your phone, checked the weather or withdrew money. Starting today, European Space Week celebrates space for the rest of us – as a source of services, jobs and business opportunities.
Hosted in Talinn, Estonia, 3–9 November, European Space Week is bringing together space stakeholders, companies and visionaries, including ESA Director General Jan Woerner.
The Space Week includes a hackathon, conferences, an information day on space-themed elements of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and development programme, a space exhibition and the opening of ESA’s latest business incubator.
Prof. Woerner joins high-level speakers such as Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises; Urve Palo, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology of Estonia; and Carlo des Dorides, Executive Director of the European Global Navigation Satellite System Agency.
A focus is to forge links between the space and digital communities, as well as highlighting the torrents of data now freely available from Europe’s Copernicus Earth-monitoring programme and its Galileo positioning system.
A three-day Integrated Applications Hackathon begins today, challenging developers to combine Copernicus Earth-observing satellite data with Galileo satnav data plus social media to design innovative, integrated services.
The team behind ESTCube-1, Estonia’s first space mission – a CubeSat launched in 2013 – will offer support on integrating space hardware into service concepts.
Urve Palo, Estonia Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology, highlighted her nation’s hosting of the event: “Cooperation between the ICT industry, start-ups and European space industry is making space data more accessible.
“Digital Europe and the free movement of data are priorities for our Presidency of the Council of the EU, and also the focus of Space Week.”
The Minister stressed that Europe’s space policy has a broader objective of boosting employment, investment, growth and, ultimately, the global competitiveness of the EU.
“In line with the digital agenda of the Estonian Presidency, we emphasise, among other things, the smarter application of digital technologies in the space sector,” she added, stressing the need to increase access to space data for innovative businesses.
“It gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to develop new products and services, taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the EU’s space programmes and the availability of space-based data for both Earth observation and satellite navigation.”