France Europe as Spatial Policies

According to the Department of the Army’s Defense Space Strategy Report, the space sector has long been the preserve of a few nations, their space agencies and publicly funded companies. That strategic nature of space activitiesheavy investment and long development cycles explain these balances until recently.

that new roomprepared and born in the USA, have shifted these balances since the 2010s:

  • by giving more space to private actors;
  • significantly reduce costs;
  • using the methods, technologies and financing techniques of the new economy.

A delay in new room

Four industrial groups are at the forefront of the European space industry:

  • a prime contractor for launchersArianeGroup;
  • three competing builders for satellite systems :
    • Airbus defense and space;
    • Thales Alenia Space;
    • Orbital Hochtechnologie Bremen.

According to the 2022 aerospace report, the model for these companies is traditional :

  • they come from aviation or defense sector ;
  • they work with many suppliers spread across Europe ;
  • them activities is clearly separated :
    • construction of satellites;
    • launch services;
    • apps.

After initial skepticism, European authorities has not yet adopted the American model support for the financing of new room (public support for start up). A sign that France is trying to catch up new roomthe supervision of the space sector was adopted in 2020, for the first time in 60 years, from Ministry of Research to Ministry of Economy. This change has worried many researchers.

The space component of the France 2030 recovery plan allows for:

According to the Defense Space Strategy report, France is showing some delay in design and production of very small satellitesessential to new room.

The French space sector

According to an analysis by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Insee), the space sector in France in 2020 represents:

  • 1,704 companiesincluding about sixty, say pure playersactive exclusively in the space sector;
  • 33,200 employees ;
  • a turnover of 10.8 billion euros ;
  • a space activity intended for foreign customers with 43%.

Militarization and weaponization of space

According to the Defense Space Sector Report arming the roomi.e. its military use, is an old phenomenon. L’arming the room is place weapons in orbit.

According to the 2022 space report, the weaponization of space during the Cold War arose from the confrontation between the two blocs. After a suspension, it rises again in one context of global geostrategic environmental degradation. The offensive means are:

  • them co-orbital capacities (space systems capable of maneuvering and interacting with other satellites, even disrupting or destroying them);
  • them direct ascent capabilities (intercontinental ballistic missiles [ICBM] and anti-satellite missiles [ASAT]);
  • them directed energy weapons (AED) (High Intensity Microwave [HPM] and laser);
  • them electronic means (radio frequency jammers and cyber attacks).

The USA, Russia and China invest massively in these projects. The Arsenalization was revealed in 2007 during destructive launch of a Chinese anti-satellite missile.

Military satellite fleets have become very large (the US has nearly 300 active satellites for government use).

France is developing ability to protect its interests in space (active defense). Two YODA patrol satellites (eyes in orbit for an agile demonstrator) will be placed in geostationary orbit in 2023. They can be equipped with jammers, control arms, AED. An improved version will come into use in 2030.

The Space Act has been carefully drafted by the space powers. It does not prohibit the weaponization of space, but prohibits placing nuclear weapons in orbit (but not their transit).

Which spatial strategy?

In a speech on 16 February 2022, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, recalls the challenges of European and French space sovereignty. It determines the four pillars of spatial action.

that first column aims to ensure a competitiveness and scientific and industrial sovereignty Founded:

  • on it jugs via :
    • the program Ariadne 6 and the application of the European preference for the launch of institutional satellites;
    • reusable mini and micro starters;
  • of investments public and private i disruptive technologies ;
  • the development of constellationwhich is at the heart of many daily issues and services (military networks and objects, connected, emergency services, autonomous vehicles, telesurgery, but also economic prosperity, etc.).

that second column is here military power. With a space defense strategy of almost 5 billion euros in investment until 2025, France has added an action capability in exo-atmospheric space for conventional missions (observation, telecommunications, listening). The air force has also become that of space. Europe must move forward on the road towards one European military space strategy.

that third pillar is to make space a place for the protection of a common good by promoting regulatory standards. A European model of control of space traffic will be defined. One of the challenges is no longer allowing attacks to hide behind satellite collisions.

that fourth pillar to the nature of the space adventure itself: a basic research project and scientific exploration. The space is a lever for basic and applied research, for example with the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions and the state of the biosphere.

Before the International Astronautical Congress (held in Paris from 18 to 22 September 2022), Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne announced an investment of 9 billion euros in the space sector over the next three years.

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