17 May 2022, Quito, Ecuador – The Global Space Exploration Conference (GLEX 2021) has officially opened its doors with a touching Ecuadorian ceremony on the “Beginning of the Universe”. During the opening Ceremony, IAF President Pascale EHRENFREUND declared that “the inclusion of emerging nations in the global space arena deserves, today more than ever, all our efforts and attention” and  IAF Executive Director, Christian FEICHTINGER, saluted the event by thanking the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis VAYAS VALDIVIESO, as his “presence is a testimony of the high importance Ecuador grants to space and to the inclusion of emerging countries within the space sector”. “With this event we want to send a message to the world that Latin America is ready to join the global space industry” announced Juan JARAMILLO ROJAS, President, SIDERALIS Foundation. Equally, “the world is very interested in starting collaborations in Ecuador” as stated by Sheldon LOPEZ, Undersecretary of Telecommunications and Postal Affairs, Ministry of Telecommunications and the Information Society, as attested by the presence of numerous exhibitors like D-Orbit, Remos Space Systems, Aphelion Aerospace, Astralintu, and many more.

The attendance of a high number of industry representatives from all over the world confirm the increasingly higher role played by industries in the space sector: “commercial satellites are currently out-numbering state satellites” claimed IAF Incoming President, Clay MOWRY. Also, Christopher GEIGER, Internal Audit Director at Lockheed Martin Corporation, explained that “the business has switched from large projects for space agencies, to a different market, de facto creating a new ecosystem with private capital in space assets”. “Without having an established ecosystem, including a thriving private space sector, it is very hard for emerging space countries to move forward quickly” stressed Serdar Hüseyin YILDIRIM, President of the Turkish Space Agency (TUA).

This is particularly contemporary as Mary PREVILLE, Vice President Space Program Policy of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), foresees the need for “space agencies to adjust to this new reality and learn how to interact with private space companies”. The role of space agencies nowadays has switched as declared by Grzegorz WROCHNA, President of the Polish Space Agency (POLSA) “to a role of integrator: space agencies must encourage the country to use space solutions while helping small companies entering the market”.

This difficult equilibrium among industries, civil society, space agencies, governments, academia etc. is facilitated by “the International Astronautical Federation bringing together everyone who should be involved in the space sector” acknowledged Dominique TILMANS, IAF Vice President. And “it all starts with education, like informing students what the Galileo programme is, for instance” as advocated by Pilar ZAMORA ACEVEDO, Executive Director, Colombian Space Agency (AEC). “Education can greatly benefit from international cooperation to improve capabilities, to improve human resources, and understand what emerging space countries want to develop in space” stated Luis M. ALFARO, President and CEO, El Salvador Aerospace Institute.

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