Highlights Urgent Need for Data Policy and Regulation in Europe

Space Economy Evolution Lab Annual Conference

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A group of policymakers, private companies, researchers and institutions came together to speak about the most pressing issues in the space economy sector, focusing on the rush for data commercialization and the need for policies and regulation.

The space economy is expanding, and so is the data coming from it. A boom in private companies entering the arena want to leverage new technologies to generate, manage and process all this data. The question is, how should this commercialization of space data be regulated. The need for an effective data policy in Europe is growing.
That was the goal of the Second Annual Conference held by the “reborn” Space Economy Evolution Lab (SEE Lab) , The uncertainty surrounding the commercialization of space data, particularly in Europe, poses challenges for business opportunities. The conference brought together key stakeholders from the space industry, including private companies, researchers, policymakers, and financial institutions, to discuss what can be done.
Several important questions were addressed, including the direction policymakers should take to structure a new space data regulation for Europe, critical areas for improvement in European data policy, security, and regulation, and the safeguards that need to be guaranteed and to whom.


Prof. Paola Cillo, Associate Dean for Research of SDA Bocconi, highlighted the .ab's role in supporting private companies and institutions in the sector, citing increased interest in issues such as space debris and sustainability Prof. Di Pippo, Director of SEE Lab, highlighted the lab's commitment to supporting its members through knowledge sharing, strategic guidance, and networking opportunities and stressed the importance of raising Italy's standing in the space industry.
Luigi Ruggerone, Senior Director at Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center, also spoke, discussing the economic and strategic interests in the space sector and emphasizing that the space industry plays a significant role in defense, employment generation, and the circular economy. There is important technology spillover to other industries and a need for coordinated efforts in financing and technology transfer, he said. He also highlighted the role of research and innovation in the space sector and the potential for collaboration between different industries.


The results of SME4IRIDE joint study was also presented by Prof. Di Pippo and Giovanni Sylos Labini at the conference. They revealed that Italian small- to medium-sized enterprises are aligned with global trends and are ready to leverage IRIDE satellites to expand their portfolio of products and services. However, concerns were raised about accessing financing and the need for new expertise in the sector.
The Executive Director of the European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA), Rodrigo Da Costa, was also present. He highlighted the various programs, including EGNOS, Galileo, Copernicus, and GOVSATCOM, which foster the exploitation of space infrastructure, enhance security and defense capabilities, and stimulate market development, communication, and innovation. Andrea Bersan of the US-based HawkEYE 360 brought a foreign persepective, noting the significant focus on national security and defense in successful US space companies.
Further discussions touched on the importance of data utilization, like that of Ornella Bombaci of Thales Alenia Space, who stressed the importance of building spacecraft for data commercialization and Earth Observation, emphasizing the need for real-time information and improved interactions with other sectors to maximize the value of satellite manufacturing industries, whereas Marco Brancati from Telespazio highlighted the significance of data policies and the availability of trustworthy information for satellite operators.


The conference couldn’t miss including a discussion of the role of AI. Marina Geymont from Capgemini emphasized the strategic application of AI and the integration of data from various sources to enhance the value of big data from space. For private companies, market competition is another big concern, which Marco Molina from Sitael tackled, citing the challenge of differentiating themselves and new business models through scaling up the provision of ground data merged with data from space assets.


Others focused on the need for policy tools for data commercialization, like Fabio Nichele from Tyvak, or the role of space logistics and infracstructure companies, which D-Orbit is providing, like their satellite-as-a-service solutions for the IRIDE project. Stefano Antonetti of the company spoke about their role and how they can provide infrastructure while allowing customers to decide how to use the data and information. Finally, Angelo Fontana highlighted the role of AVIO as a provider of launchers, noting the increasing number of satellites in the next decade and the focus on LEO satellites, including those for telecommunication, Earth observation, and security purposes, with the EU Secure Connectivity Infrastructure being launched.


The SEE Lab introduced the Knowledge Space Investment Platform (KSIP), which is a way to create knowledge and attract and make a community among space investments. The SEE Lab had the pleasure to announce the first affiliate: Intesa Sanpaolo. The research program aims to empower investors by providing in-depth analysis and strategic recommendations that enable informed investment decisions. Additionally, it seeks to catalyze public industrial policy initiatives that facilitate investments in the space sector. This program allows investors to actively participate in the selection of research topics, giving them freedom that ensures research aligns with their specific interests and priorities.


The SEE Lab conference successfully provided a platform for collaboration and knowledge-sharing among industry stakeholders. To close the conference, Prof. Di Pippo emphasized the 20-year technological gap between Europe and the US. Despite initial skepticism during her visit to SpaceX in 2011, she has come to believe in Elon Musk's project. To show the importance of advanced technologies, she spoke of her time as Director of United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, when she signed an agreement for free high-resolution imagery from Maxar for immediate information about natural disasters because of a need for faster image acquisition, citing how delays of 5 to 7 days with other EO space assets can hinder disaster response efforts. Her remarks emphasized the importance of bridging the technological divide to address challenges effectively.

 

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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