Message from the EISC 2017 Chairwoman Ms. Liisa Oviir
Estonia is holding the rotating chairmanship of the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC) at an exciting time. The year 2017 sees many space anniversaries. The first satellite Sputnik was launched in October 1957 – 60 years ago. The main legal document on outer space, the Outer Space Treaty, was signed 50 years ago, in 1967. Much has happened since then and mankind has boldly gone where we could not have imagined in the early space age.
Recent developments have shown that increasingly, space is coming down to earth! We are seeing more and more occasions where space application are of direct use to help solve problems on earth. Entrepreneurs are seeing new opportunities in space but also on earth, supported by space use. What is perhaps the main difference regarding space use in 2017 compared to for example 1967, when the Outer Space Treaty was written, is that private enterprise now plays a big role in space. This is exciting and promising, but it also highlights deficiencies in the legal framework for space, as private enterprise necessitates legal certainty and a clear framework. Work is currently ongoing in the framework of the UN Committee for Peaceful Uses of Outer Space to draft guidelines for sustainable use of outer space, but work is needed also in other contexts and fora.
Thus, the Estonian chairmanship has decided to focus on space and entrepreneurship, to discuss with various stakeholders the exciting opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship in space and thanks to space, but also to discuss together the obstacles that may be caused by a deficient legal framework, problems of space debris, challenges of access to space data or other issues.
Estonia has made high technology and use of e-services its hallmark – we are proud of our innovative society with a willingness among both public and private sector actors to try new solutions and think outside of the box. Our chairmanship of EISC gives us – a recent space nation and European Space Agency Member – an excellent opportunity to share ideas with friends and colleagues from many countries about how to find connections between entrepreneurship on earth and in space.
During our chairmanship, we look forward to welcoming delegates to a workshop on May 22-23, where the observatory in the university town of Tartu will offer a possibility for “hands-on” space experience for a smaller group. On November 6-7, the main event of the chairmanship will be held in conjunction with the Space Week organised as an element of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2017. During the main conference, we will have high-level panels on: Opportunities and obstacles for entrepreneurs in space; The changing legal framework for space; Space as support for the e-society; and Sustainable space use in light of mega-constellations, space traffic management and other topical space issues. Panellists will come from Estonia and EISC Member States as well as elsewhere, from business, government, international organisations and academia. We hope to adopt a resolution as a result of the conference, with new ideas for space and entrepreneurship.
I look forward to welcoming you to Estonia during this exciting space year!
Chairwoman of the XIX EISC,
Chairwoman of the Estonian Delegation to EISC
XIX EISC Plenary Session on 6-7 November 2017 in Tallinn, Estonia
The EISC Plenary Session will be held in conjunction with the European Space Week, organised as an element of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union in the second half of 2017.
About the European Space Week:
The European Space Week 2017 is organised by the European Commission under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU and co-organised by the European Space Agency, AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen and Garage48. The event will take place in Tallinn – Estonia – from 3 to 9 November 2017. The space week will foster interactions between the space and digital community and will provide visibility to the rapidly changing space sector, its applications and the European Union’s Space Programmes Copernicus and Galileo. Central aim is to bring together the most important space stakeholders, companies, partners and visionaries in Europe pushing the topic of space in Europe and beyond. Fostering a digital Europe and the movement of free data as outlined as one of the four priorities of the Estonia’s Presidency of the EU is key to the future economic success in Europe. This perfectly links to the implementation of the EU Space Strategy and the myriad ways Europe’s space programms help to tackle global challenges down on Earth and benefit the citizens of Europe. Global entrepreneurs are visioning many new opportunities in space but also on Earth. These are just a few reasons why the European Space Week is THE event in 2017: this space week will foster interactions between the space and digital community and will provide visibility to the rapidly changing space sector, its applications and the European Union’s Space Programmes Copernicus and Galileo. The central aim is to bring together the most important space stakeholders, companies, partners and visionaries in Europe pushing the topic of space in Europe and beyond.