L’Espace est-il à vendre?
Jean-Marc Nasr versus Xavier Pasco
Moderator: Gil Mihaely
First, it should be noted that Space covers three areas: manned exploration, infrastructural space, and the militarization of space.
The development of private projects, such as those carried out by Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson and Elon Musk are not a vulgar privatization of space. They are a strategic re-composition based on state designs.In the years to come, the United States-China relationship will be structuring everything relating to Space, given the financial resources deployed by these two powers. In this context, Europe must strive to remain sovereign. France, which is particularly competitive in the field of space, will have to give up some of its own sovereignty in order to be able to rely on Europe and face new political and technological challenges.The invasion of Ukraine is also reshuffling the Space cards. No one had anticipated this situation. The rupture with Russia now deprives Europeans of the Soyuz launcher but also of the Vega launcher since the Ukrainian factory which manufactured its engine has been destroyed. Although the Ariane 6 program has been delayed, it is an alternative that will preserve France’s strategic independence through the Franco-German alliance of the Airbus Defense & Space consortium.Who will be Europe’s partner tomorrow to replace Russia in the various ongoing projects? India and the United Arab Emirates have well developed programs but these two countries are not in a position to replace Russia.
Today, the sector has shifted to an industrial vision of space with two countries dominating the market: the United States and China. At the technological level, a satellite today is made up of 80% software. This means the recruitment of highly qualified engineers and a reinforcement of satellite cyber-protection. It is worth pointing out the vast place occupied by space in the field of telecommunications. Today, we no longer speak of the World Wide Web but of the Space World Wide Web.The question of control of space becomes central. Everyone has an interest in that it does not become a place of confrontation. There is indeed a treaty that was signed in 1967, but it is not always respected. Already, the United States, Russia and China are all engaged in espionage. It is necessary is to avoid hostile acts. Destruction could lead to a catastrophe due to the debris it could project into space and in particular onto the path of the satellites. Today, our security increasingly depends on an environment that we control less and less.
A few years ago, some countries and some entities saw launchers as mere commodities. Today, the commercial aspect is relegated to second place. However, the question of strategic autonomy has become central. The military emphasize that there is no air superiority without space superiority. Today, more than ever, access to space is non-negotiable and is a matter of purely political choices
Geneva Geostrategic Observatory
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