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  • Laurence Russell

Small satellite challenges and the future of the space sector in USA and EU at the SSSIF Forum

Malaga will host the fourth edition of the Small Satellites and Services International Forum (SSSIF) from February 21 to February 23. The meeting will serve to analyze the main technological challenges of small satellites and the future of the space sector in Europe and United States.

For three days, experts from different fields in the space sector such as manufacturers, technicians, scientists, suppliers, investors, developers, and launchers will meet in this world-referenced forum. This year, the forum is celebrated under the slogan, "High Capability Constellations."

The space sector is strategic, combining companies with high-added value, high competitiveness, strategic technological developments and sustained long-term growth. The SSSIF will discuss future challenges for defence, commercial applications, and scientific missions in the coming years.


The opening day will feature the exceptional Andrés Martínez, Executive Director of Space Programs of NASA's Exploration Development Mission Directorate, and responsible for 5 of the 10 small satellites of the Artemis I mission. For over a decade, Andres has led small satellite technology research and development and over 20 space flight missions both to low Earth orbit and deep space. Andres will share his perspective on the main challenges that the small satellites sector will face in the coming years.


The first day will also focus on the role and goals of space agencies with keynote speakers Noelia Peinado, in charge of the Development Program in the European Space Agency and Giorgio Sccoccia, president of the Italian Space Agency.


Another key topic will be the role of small satellite launchers and will involve representatives of companies such as Arianespace, the world's leading satellite launch company; Germany's Isar Aerospace; the tin start-up Pangea Aerospace; the American Spaceflight; PLD Space, a pioneering

Spanish company and benchmark in Europe in the development of reusable rockets, and OCCAM SPACE, a manufacturer of aviation and aerospace components.


The limits of technology in satellite constellations will be the focus of the final debate of the first day. The debate will involve the pioneer company Planet, which provides images via satellite of the whole Earth; Sener Aeroespacial y Defensa, specialists in engineering and technology; Alen Space, developer of nanosatellites and missions; SATLANTIS, dedicated to space technology for earth observation and exploration of the universe, D-Orbit, a market leader in logistics and space transport, and Hispasat, a Spanish communications satellite operator.


Defence and satellite constellations

Jordi Puig, creator of the standard CubeSat and emeritus professor at California Polytechnic State University, and Dana Turse, president of Salida Space, will kick off the second day of the forum as guest speakers. In a panel moderated by José L. Calvo González-Reguera, Lieutenant Colonel of the Spanish Air & Space Force, the applications of small satellites in defence will be discussed and representatives of ISDEF, INTA, AIRBUS, GMV and Deimos Space will speak.


The day will be followed by a panel dedicated to commercial applications of small satellites and international cooperation in satellite constellations, where representatives of the European Space Agency, the UK Space Agency, Catapult and Hispasat will reflect on the necessary contribution between the United States and Europe, both at the level of space agencies and private companies.


The final panel of the day will focus on the topic of women in the space sector and how to expand opportunities for more women to become involved. Among the participants who will contribute to the discussion are Maureen O´Brien, co-founder and Executive Director at OAI, Dana Turse, and Mireia Colina, Vice President of Commercial Sales and Business Development at LEAF Space.


The third day will open with pilot Juan Carlos Sánchez Delgado, Brigadier General of the Spanish Space Air & Space Force who will speak about the challenges of defence in the current international scenario. After his speech, he will be followed by Stanley Kennedy, co-founder, president, and chief engineer of Oakman Aerospace Incorporated with large experience in defence and commercial applications.


After both speeches, the day will continue with three more panels on topics such as regulation and space business development, investments and the space economy, and cybersecurity in space. Panelists include but are not limited to, Sergio Tabasco of the European Space Agency, Patricia Rodriguez-Dapena of NTT Data, Oscar Garcia of Interflight Global, and more.


The activities of the SSSIF 2023 forum will be complemented by a second conference room where, during the three days, sessions moderated by experts will be held to present projects and technological developments linked to the space sector in fields such as launchers, market trends, satellite constellations, space debris, telecommunications, and components for small satellites. Among the companies and entities present will be AIRBUS, the EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA), SENER and several national and international universities.