IFRI Space Security Conference

When: Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Where: Thon Hotel Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

Ifri and the Secure World Foundation (SWF) join forces to organize a one-day conference in Brussels, addressing Transatlantic perspectives on Space security in the 2020s.

As the number of countries developing mature space programs grows, many developments are underway, be they the number of low-orbit constellations, the emergence of private players alongside traditional public actors, and an emerging concern with regard to space debris and to satellites with maneuvering capabilities. The conditions by which space can remain a safe and secure area, protected as a common good, are therefore changing rapidly.

The transatlantic space community needs to discuss ways to better manage this changing landscape, in order to mitigate the risk of losses of property or even geopolitical crisis. Indeed, several international assemblies have held recent meetings to address the need for more space security, transparency and awareness.

The one-day conference will seek to clarify these issues and devise a way forward.


  • Panel 1 – 9am/10:50am: Current challenges to space security
    The space environment is faced with a range of threats today: signal interference due to the growing number of space-to-Earth transmissions has occurred several times; the orbits are also crowded with countless objects, including debris, increasing the risk of accidental collision; cyber threats must also be taken into account. Furthermore, in-orbit maneuver capabilities, including space-tug, re-fueling, in-orbit repairs, as well as potentially hostile approaches, are under development. What is the state of these different techniques, and who are the main actors of these developments?
    • Theresa Hitchens, Senior Research Associate at CISSM, University of Maryland: “Current trends in space weaponization”
    • Jean-François Bureau, Director of Institutional and International Affairs, Eutelsat: “Space security and commercial satellite operators”
    • Chiara Manfletti, Program advisor for the Director General, European Space Agency: on the current outlook for safety and security in space
    • François Raffenne, Senior Manager, Marketing, Sales and Contracts, ArianeGroup: “Keeping tabs on space debris?” (TBC)
  • Panel 2 – 11:10am/1pm: Is the international community going anywhere?
    The EU, the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNCOPUOS), the Conference on Disarmament (CD) and the Disarmament Commission (UNDC) are currently discussing best practices, long-term sustainability and confidence-building measures in order to tackle space security issues. What have recent developments achieved? What are the geopolitical challenges? What is the state of the discussions, at the EU level and at the global level?
    • Niklas Hedman, Chief, Committee, Policy and Legal Affairs Section, UNOOSA: “Space safety, security, sustainability at the global level”
    • Pierre Delsaux, Deputy general director, DG Grow (EU), in charge of space and defense policy
    • Zacharie Gross, head of nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament and space security, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Frank Asbeck, Advisor, European External Action Service (EEAS) (TBC)
  • Buffet lunch at Hotel Thon EU
  • 2:15pm – 3:15pm: Keynote Speaker: John D. Hill, Principal Director for Space Policy, U.S. Department of Defense: “U.S. Perspectives on current trends of space security” (TBC)
  • Panel 3 – 3:15pm/5pm: Space Situational Awareness (SSA): progress and difficulties
    In past decades, the United States agreed to share most of the data related to orbit management, but the authority in charge has recently changed. What is now the situation? What does the EU, and its proposed Space program for 2021-2027, say about SSA? What are private companies doing in that respect?
    • Didier Schmitt, Space Task Force, European External Action Service (EEAS): Assessing European needs for Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST)
    • CNES representative : on SST (TBC)
    • Mark Dickinson, VP Inmarsat, current chairman for the Space Data Association (SDA)
    • Victoria Samson, Secure World Foundation: In-Orbit Operations
  • Wrap-up remarks: Xavier Pasco, Director of the French Foundation for Strategic Research (FRS)

To register, please contact Justine Touchon

For more information, please contact Washington Office Director Victoria Samson.

Last updated on October 29, 2018