Internationally, the space sector is undergoing significant transformation due to the rise in commercial activity and the past few years’ disruptive “new space” programs launched in the United States by major figures from the digital sector.
Markets and technologies are evolving very quickly with the arrival of satellite constellations, the United States’ massive investment in high-speed satellite Internet, etc.
From satellites to launchers it’s clear that the future of the space sector relies on its ability to anticipate technological evolutions: technologies adapted to satellite constellations, quantum communications, photonics, artificial intelligence, reusable launchers, and so on.
COSPACE (the French committee for public-private cooperation on space), which was created in 2013, facilitates the consolidation of an innovation strategy that can be shared between the relevant ministries, the CNES (the French space agency), the sector and public laboratories. Roadmaps for research and technology have also been proposed in a concerted effort by COSPACE (in association with suppliers and SMEs).
About telecommunications satellites, COSPACE players have proposed a detailed program based on the development of high-priority technologies (e.g. high-performance digital payloads, the ground segment, the Internet of Things, latest-generation electric propulsion, etc.), flight testing and upstream research.
Downstream developments in the field (innovative ways of processing space data) have also been encouraged by COSPACE through the Boosters program. Seven support structures in different regions of France were labeled “Boosters” by COSPACE between 2016 and 2019.
These structures take their strength from local ecosystems (competitiveness clusters) and their goals are to bring together players in the space and digital sectors (among others) in order to foster and support innovative projects that use space data.