DUBAI – Experts taking part in a World Majlis as part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Space Week have called for multilateral collaboration and regulatory frameworks to ensure that space exploration benefits all humanity and remains safe for all participants.
The panelists in the discussion, ‘Using Space for the Benefit of all Humanity’, organized in collaboration with Italy and Portugal, agreed that space exploration – and satellites in particular – had brought incredible benefits to humanity.
The World Majlis featured Ricardo Conde, President, Portuguese Space Agency; Sergei Krikalev, Executive Director for Human Space Flights, State Space Corporation ‘Roscosmos’ of Russia and former cosmonaut; Miguel Belló, CEO of the Atlantic International Research (AIR) Centre, Portugal; Professor Michèle Lavagna, Professor in Flight Mechanics at Politecnico di Milano, Italy; and Ibrahim Al Qasim Space Science Advisor at the UAE Space Agency. Professor Steven Freeland, Professor of International Law at Western Sydney University, Australia, and Dr. Mathias Link, Director – International Affairs and Space Resources at the Luxemburg Space Agency, participated virtually.
Drawing attention to ‘overcrowding’ in space, Sergei Krikalev warned that the increasing trend of sending humans into space was fraught with danger: “There is need for developing traffic rules, just as we have for road and air traffic. We also need to share resources that are already in space instead of each mission carrying more equipment,” he said.
Ricardo Conde underlined the need for concerted international efforts among stakeholders from all countries to create regulatory frameworks to bring order to space so that safety is given top priority and the benefits of exploration are felt equally by everyone.
Ibrahim Al Qasim said: “The UAE is a new entrant in the space exploration field. This is part of our efforts to diversify our economy. We believe this will enable our youth to engage in the space-related activity. We are aware of the challenges, but we still believe that space is a fantastic platform for international collaboration.”
Professor Steven Freeland said: “There is no doubt that space exploration has brought incredible benefits to humanity. But we must remember that sustainability in space and earth are interlinked. The human factor should remain at the heart of space exploration. The only way to ensure the equitable sharing of benefits is through multilateral cooperation.”
In a video message, Giorgio Saccoccia, President of the Italian Space Agency, said: “The exploration of space has yielded high economic returns and led to a better understanding of our universe and the solar system. Italy is proud to be engaged in reaching common goals for the democratization of space exploration.”