"Space 4.0"

author: Johann-Dietrich Wörner, European Space Agency (ESA)
published: Feb. 17, 2017,   recorded: February 2017,   views: 3935

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Space technologies and applications are part of our everyday life. They are an indispensable tool for facing global challenges. For example, satellite images support our actions tackling climate change, they enable a smarter disaster management, they provide monitoring of the evolving environment of the Arctic. The European Space Agency is able to support its member states, their industry, scientific and research communities, national and regional authorities through its policies and programmes in order to allow them to reap the full benefits of a truly European programme, in which the pooling of know-how and resources permits the realisation of missions that are beyond the capabilities of any single State. ESA thereby brings the socio-economic benefits of space activities to the citizens of its Member States.

The first era of space, ‘Space 1.0’, can be considered to be the early study of astronomy (and even astrology). The next era, ‘Space 2.0’, came about with spacefaring nations engaging in a space race that led to the Apollo moonlandings. The third era, ‘Space 3.0’, with the conception of the International Space Station, showed that we understood and valued space as the next frontier for cooperation and exploitation.

Space 4.0 represents the evolution of the space sector into a new era, characterised by a new playing field. This era is unfolding through interaction between governments, private sector, society and politics. Space 4.0 is analogous to, and is intertwined with, Industry 4.0, which is considered as the unfolding fourth industrial revolution of manufacturing and services.

To meet the challenges and to proactively develop the different aspects of Space 4.0, the European space sector can become globally competitive only by fully integrating into European society and economy. This requires a sustainable space sector closely connected with the fabric of society and economy. For this to happen, space must be safe, secure and easily and readily accessible, and built on a foundation of excellence in science and technology – broadly and continuously over time.

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