Centre of Excellence at European Space Week 3-5 Dec 2019

Sustainable use of space was the central topic of European Space Week. Each year the current President of the European Council organizes a space-themed week that brings together companies, engineers, scientists, policy makers, layers and end-users across Europe.

This year the event took place on 3-5 December at historic Helsinki Congress Hotel Paasitorni. The week comprised several plenary and parallel sessions, panel discussions, networking events, exhibitions and business presentations. 

Our Centre of Excellence had a strong presence at the European Space Week. We organized a side event “Space research in Finland” and were featured as keynote speakers and session moderators.

The session entitled “Space research in Finland” was organized on Tuesday afternoon. The session featured examples of top research in Finland related to the European Union Space programme, described the latest developments of the Finnish Centres of Excellence contributing to space research at the international level, as well as EU projects coordinated by Finnish researchers. Further, the session highlighted space technology development and space research infrastructures in Finland. Poster session presented in more detail different research highlights and projects in Finland, and provided means for in-depth discussions with the researchers. We were happy to show to the international audience how high-quality and diverse space expertise we have in Finland. The session was full and received excellent feedback.

One of the highlights of the European Space Week was the opening of the Finnish plenary by the former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen. Finland’s themes for the European Space Week were summarised under the title Sustainable Space – Sustainable Europe – Sustainable Future. In her talk, President Halonen reminded us how close space actually is and how useful it is in our everyday lives. She stressed the crucial role of space applications in ensuring sustainable future of our planet, driving sustainable growth and in tackling many societal and global challenges.

On Wednesday afternoon Jaan Praks from the Centre of Excellence moderated a plenary session entitled “Creating new space ecosystem for sustainable growth”. The overall summary of the panel emphasised sustainable growth for the space economy in Europe and internationally. On Thursday morning the Centre of Excellence director Minna Palmroth gave a keynote talk at a plenary panel “Sustainable Space: Saving Space for future generations”.  She discussed the space debris problem and expressed how horrified she is that we launch expensive assets into environment we do not fully understand. Solid knowledge of space physics is crucial for deciding when satellite becomes debris.

Space has indeed become a megatrend. It is crucially important both for the society and economy. The usage of space is rapidly increasing and we need to take care that we can continue to peacefully benefit from it in the future. One of the most important messages of the EU Space Week was: Sustainable usage of space needs all of us.

Finnish “space women”. From the left: Maija Lönnqvist, the main responsible organiser of the European Space Week from Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, former President Tarja Halonen, Jenni Tapio from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, and Minna Palmroth, the Centre of Excellence director.  Photo: Emilia Kilpua

Younger generation of FORESAIL participated to European Space Week as well. They found it an extremely motivating and uplifting experience.  Photo: Lucile Turc

 Creating new space ecosystem for sustainable growth. Panel moderator Professor Jaan Praks, Aalto University. Photo: Emilia Kilpua