ESSI Bulletin #04: ESSI takes part in UK-Africa Space Technology Knowledge Exchange

Delegates from the UK-Africa Space Technology Knowledge Exchange pose for a group photograph at the Royal Aeronautical Society, London.
Delegates from the UK-Africa Space Technology Knowledge Exchange pose for a group photograph at the Royal Aeronautical Society, London.
Category: Policy Making, Industry, Public

4 December 2023
The directors of the Earth & Space Sustainability Initiative, along with representatives from the UK Space Agency and members of UK space industry met with a delegation of African space regulators and innovators in London to kick off a five-day space technology knowledge exchange tour.

            ESSI’s Joanne Wheeler and Stuart Clark gave their presentation to the delegation at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on 4 December, as part of a discussion about space policy, regulation in the UK. They outlined the need for a set of international standards that would help companies use space in a sustainable way and encourage investment in space activities, discussed how sustainability could be applied in national regulation, presented ESSI's achievements this year in drafting the documents that now form the base documents from which the first two standards will flow, and its vision for the future.
International engagement is at the very core of ESSI’s work. For the Space Sustainability Standards to truly work a ‘critical mass’ of other countries will need to adopt them. Hence, this opportunity to meet African space leaders was invaluable. During the formal presentations and in conversations over lunch, the delegates shared their achievements, ambitions, challenges and concerns with regard to the various space programmes taking place across the African continent.

            As a result of the trip and the subsequent discussions,  a member of the delegation has agreed to join the ESSI Executive Committee. Currently in the final stages of preparation, both the Executive Committee and the Advisory Committee will be announced in the new year.

            Organised by Innovate UK and Research and Innovation Systems for Africa (RISA), and facilitated by the Research Institute of Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), the delegation was composed of representatives from the African space agencies; academics from the universities of Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Witwatersrand; and directors of African space start-ups such as Astrofica, AgriBORA Labs, Locus Dynamics, Sayari Labs, and Wanscan Consulting.

            Stephen Plant, UK Space Agency, spoke about how space sustainability is being increasingly written into UK licensing and regulation. Other UK representative who addressed the delegation came from Atrium Space Insurance, Avanti, ClearSpace, and LumiSpace.

            ESSI is funded by the UK Space Agency.

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