The following draft was discussed on Jitsi last week. I will be present in Strasbourg.
Space as a Vital Factor
Satellite-based communication and navigation, Earth observation for weather forecast, disaster relief, pollution tracking, and orbital based research are normal parts of our life today. Space has become a commercial factor.
The EU plays a vital, yet relatively small role in space technology. We want to stimulate this sector and open it up for new startups. This will generate a major push for technology as well as collaboration between EU member states and other partner nations.
With the commercialization of space new opportunities like space mining and colonizing space arise that will generate a large economical advance. The EU needs to make sure to gets its share of this development.
EU Space Vision for the Future
Due to technology advancement and commercialization activities in space are no longer topics for distant future but the present day. Things like interplanetary travel, planetary defense, space mining, production in space, colonisation of other planets, even early concepts for interstellar space probes are issues that need to be addressed today.
The EU needs to define a clear vision, strategy, and objectives to ensure international cooperation, multilateral global governance and basic principles of rule of law, justice and democracy in the space domain. This should include the development of a EU Agency for the Space Program that is politically and financially accountable to the EU public through the EU Parliament and receives an adequate EU-wide mandate for space development.
Industrial Space Policy
World wide the activities in space are shifting from government agencies to private and commercial entities.
The EU Space Program should concentrate on stimulating the development in the private sector. Public funded research should primarily use commercial launch services and concentrate on the high risk aspects where it can break ground for disruptive technologies, like light sails for long range missions and resource extration in space.
Independent EU launch capacities with full reuseability have to be developed to ensure EU has sufficient access to space and can stay in a leading position technologically and economically.
A legal framework is required to prevent abuse and weaponizing of space assets.
Law in Space
The Outer Space Treaty (OST) does not cover many important legal issues regaring the use and commercialization of space. The EU as a prime example of multiple nations working together for a common good should take a leading role in pushing to expand the OST to cover important issues like space mining, space debris, and environmental aspects.
Space must be accessible and utilized for the good of all mankind.
Environmental laws in space should address issues like pollution that can affect wide areas or reach inhabited or potentially inhabitable space objects, areas that can possibly be home for extraterrestrial life, and also protecting places that are of high importance to research, like the far side of the moon which has exceptionally low radio frequency interference which makes it a very important spot for radioastronomy.
Derelict satellites, rocket stages and debris in orbit are threatening space travel. The EU must push for international treaties that mandate removing space junk, prevent new space junk by controlled deorbiting of spent rocket stages and end of life satellites. Activities that generate space junk, like tests of anti satellite systems, must be outlawed.
Research programs for technologies to remove space junk have to receive additional funding.
An impact of a major object can cause immense damage on earth. Planetary defense against such events is of high importance. We want to increase the funding for projects to detect potentially dangerous near earth objects and for technologies to deflect dangerous objects.
The activities for planetary defense have to be coordinated and integrated internationally.
Expendable launch systems are becoming outdated fast, the economical benefit of reusable systems is significant. The EU needs its own reusable launch capability to stay competitive and enable larger scale projects.
Also an independent crew transport capability initially to earth orbit is necessary.
Developing these systems domestically will be necessary to keep up with the international development that currently is dominated by the USA and China.
The EU space program should also fund goals that are or seem to be out of reach today. Working on far-flung targets, like building an interstellar probe, space elevator or space hook, will stimulate the development of radically new technologies and materials. To ensure civilian use for humankinds benefit as well as effective scientific and economic collaboration, such large and powerful space technologies should be developed with international partners.
Reaping Benefits of the Space Program
PIRATES believe that investing in a large scale space program will produce research results that have the potential to improve the lives. We want open access principles for the research results to make them broadly available. The application of space technology should benefit everyday life of all people, like the already increasing internet coverage in remote areas and satellite based navigation.
Tell the Story
Space exploration is underrepresented in Media. A vital part of the EU Space Program must be communication of the projects to the general public to raise awareness of the importance of space for the future of mankind.