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Home arrow newsitems arrow Space Exploration re-Starts on 2019 in the World. But what about EU's Autonomy ?

Space Exploration re-Starts on 2019 in the World. But what about EU's Autonomy ?

Written by ACM
Thursday, 03 January 2019
space_planets_earthmoon_mars__galaxy_eurofora_patchwork_400

*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- On Space, the Biggest Generator of various High-Tech. Innovations, Christmas 2018 and the Beginning of the New Year 2019 were Both Marked by some highly Symbolic Rendez-Vous, bearing Catchy Names as "Mars InSight" and "New Horizons", etc, and Signaling the Fact that Space Exploration Projects are Back, (after a Long Eclipse, during former US President Barack Hussein Obama : See ..., etc), including for Human Space Flight.


    Americans, Russians, Chinese, and even, soon India, are Now Present in this relaunched Race, which includes also the rest of the Europeans, mainly through various Cooperations and "Autonomous" Projects. But the key Question of EU's "Autonomy" in Space Access, still Remains Open (See Infra)...


    - Thus, f.ex., Launched on May 2018, (i.e. when New USA President Don Trump had just presented his Vision for a "Moon to Mars" Strategy including Human SpaceFlight, 50 Years after the Historic "Apollo" landing of Austronauts on the Moon), NASA's "Mars InSight" landed at the Red Planet on November 2018, at ..."Elysium planitia", (i.e. while Trump was Visiting the French "Elysée" Presidential Palace in Paris), and brought a pioneer French Tool for Seismic Research, whose Mission extends up to November 2020, (i.e., by another yet Coincidence, until the Next USA Presidential Election !) Already, around Christmas 2018, "Mars InSight" gave its First Photographs from the spot, as a Welcome Christmas Gift...


    + And on this 1st January of the New Year 2019, NASA's "New Horizons" Spacecraft, initially Launched already as Early as since ...January 2006, (i.e. soon after former US President GWBush's - a Supporter of Space Exploration - unexpectedly Brillant Re-Election on November 2004, immediately Followed by an Iimportant Trip in Europe, including at nearby Germany, f.ex. at Gutemberg's City Mainz, where "Eurofora"s co-Founder met him : Comp. our Publication, then, at "TCWeekly", etc), Now Reached "the Most Distant Object" ever Directly Explored by Man : But, even if it's Named ..."Ultima Thule", in fact, this Asteroid is the First among Thousands of various objects that "New Horizons" is due to Explore accross the "Kuiper Belt", at the outer area of our Solar System, reportedly up to 2020, (i.e., once again, by a Coincidence, until the Year of the Next US Presidential Elections : Comp. Supra)...  


    Meanwhile, China has just managed to Land at the Moon's Dark Side, for the 1st Time, with a workable Rover, and is also Planning a kind of New "International Space Station" asap...


    Russia, (the Historic Space Pioneer, since the "Sputnik 1" Times, Gagarin, etc), in addition to a very Busy Rocket Launching activity accross the Globe, (from Siberia until French Guyane's Kuru ESA Base), considers its on-going Partnership with the EU on the 2016-2022 "Exo-Mars" Project (See Infra), as one of the Most Important Scientific Cooperation affairs, according also to the President of its Academy of Sciences, Alexander Sergeyev. In Parallel, Moscow is also planning to cooperate with Washington DC's New Space Exploration Strategy (See Infra), particularly on the segments of Moon Orbital Station and Moon Landings, where Russians still keep a strong Pioneer Experience, since a long time ago.


    USA, indeed, has just announced, since Spring 2018, New US President Don Trump's ambitious Vision for Space Exploration starting "from Moon to Mars", and well Beyond, including with Human Space Fight, due to Begin with a original "Space Gateway" orbiting around the Moon, where several Landings and even Bases are scheduled, preparing more Steps towards Mars and, progressively, even Further.


    Meanwhile, even India, after having just Launched more than 30 Satellites in One Operation, has just Anounced that it Intends to engage in Human Space Flight at the Horizon of 2022.


    As for EU Countries, EU Parliament has just debated and Voted, during its latest Pleary Session of December 2018 in Strasbourg, a Multi-Billion (about 16 Billions €) Programme for "Autonomous" Space activities during the Next Multi-Annual Financial Perspectives' period of 2021-2027, including mainly the Strengthening of "GALILEO" and the Development of "Copernicus", "SSA" and "GovSatCom" Projects, for Satellite Navigation Systems, Earth Observation, but also Security and Communication, etc., according to a Report drafted by mainstream Italian ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Massimiliano Salini, (from the Same Party as EU Parliament's President Antonio Tajani, an Experienced former EU Commissioner in charge also of Space : Comp. Tajani's relevant Replies to "Eurofora" Questions on his Space Vision, f.ex. at ..., etc).

Shortly afterwards, EU Council also adopted an Agreement on EU's Space Program, on 20 December 2018 in Brussels, around Similar Key Projects, (Comp. Supra).


    + In Parallel, ESA is still Preparing the 2nd and most Important Phase of its "Exo-Mars" Project, (in Cooperation with Russia : Comp. Supra), which will Focus on a European Rover due to work on Mars between 2020-2022, as part of a Wider Pioneer Research particularly seeking for traces of Life in the Red Planet's Historic Past, through an Exploration of its UnderGround sediments.


    ++ Naturally European Countries are also due to Cooperate with USA's "Moon to Mars" Strategic Plan (Comp. Supra), as well as with China's starting activities at the Dark Side of the Moon, (particularly Germany, etc), especially concerning various Experiments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
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    However, Despite several MEPs' eagerness to Multiply succesfull Amendments calling for EU's "Autonomy" in EU Parliament's Reports on Space, (Comp. f.ex. Supra, etc), nevertheless, curiously almost Nothing has been Recently heard about the Natural Dream to Build a full and sustainable European Capability for Autonomous Access to Space :


     Certainly, "Ariane-5"'s Rockets are still working, from times to times, But a Strange Silence seems still kept on the Key Issue of ReUsable Spacecrafts' Technology, (as the former USA's "Shuttle", and/or its planned "Orion" Future Spacecraft, etc)...


    F.ex., it's not even mentioned in EU Parliament's latest Report on the Pluri-Annual, 2021-2027 Financial Perspectives concerning Space Projects, neither in EU Council's subsequent Agreement on EU's Future Space Program, (which, However, points at EU's "Strategic Autonomy", Comp. Supra).


    And Russia's earlier Attempt to develop a Plan, Together with EU Countries, for the Creation of such a Re-Usable Spacecraft, (then nick-Named "Clipper"), was finally Droped, despite the Efforts even of a former ESA's Head, to Negotiate such a Strategic Cooperation !


    As for USA, at least until now, it's notoriously accustomed Only to Rent some Room, (f.ex. inside the ISS, in the former Shuttles, some Rockets, Satellites, etc), for several Experiments made by Other Countries, but Not to Negotiate on providing any "Autonomous Access to Space" also by Others...


    Even ESA's "Exo-Mars" Rover project (Comp. Supra), which had been Initially prepared in Cooperation with the USA, had Suffered a serious Backlash, when, suddenly, the USA started to Drop it, (during Obama's period), Obliging the European Countries to seek, Later-on, Help from Russia, (Comp. Supra).


    In Addition, EU Countries afterwards felt to Lack sufficient Money to pay for that "Exo-Mars" project's 2nd Phase, Earlier Scheduled to Start from 2016, and were Obliged to Postpone it for the Future Period of 2020-2022 !

   Meanwhile, Russia too had been hardly hit by "Sanctions" on Pretext of the Ukranian Conflict, provoked since 2014, (by some strange, Deadly Snipers, killing Both Policemen and Demonstrators, who had pushed to Violent Conflict, Droping a Peace Agreement signed between former President Yanukovich and all Maidan Opposition Leaders, under the Auspices of France, Germany and Poland's Foreign Ministers), and herself Obliged to drastically Cut its own Space Budget.

     But EU Countries had probably faced Money-Problems from 2015-2016, since they were Suddenly Obliged to Pay Also +3 Billions € in full Grants each Year to ...Turkey, after Ankara threw into Europe more than 1,5 Millions of Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants, and Asked for Money and Other Advantages from the EU in order to Stop that. (Something that, in Fact, EU did Not Need, since Hungary and other Central-Eastern European Countries had already managed to Close the "Western Balkans' Route" to those Masses arriving through Turkey, who had, consequently, Ceased to do so, already Before that Controversial EU - Ankara Deal, as Official Data from International Organisations, such as UNHCR and IOM, etc, clearly prove : See ..., etc).


    However, it's mainly (at that Same Period) during former US President Barack Hussein Obama's era (2009-2016) that Human Space Flight, and even Space Exploration in general, were notoriously "Sacrificed" and practically Skiped, for Many Years, since he Decided to drastically Cut NASA's relevant Budget from 2010, (See : ...), prefering, instead, to Focus, curiously, on the International Space Station, (ISS : Closer to Earth than the small Distance "between Moscow and Saint Petersbourg", as Russian Critics use to say)...


    - MIT Professor, former Austronaut, and then in charge of Scientific Projects at the ISS, Jeff Hoffman, speaking to "Eurofora" in Strasbourg, during an event organized by the International Space University (ISU) here, as early as already since August 2010, (See: ..., etc)revealed that Obama's main Motivation for doing so, had been his will to Focus Research on Genetic Research on Human Beings, apparently Facilitated in Zero Gravity at the ISS, (as, the former US President had already shown earlier, by the Fact that his ...1st Decision at the White House was to Cancel a Prohibition of Federal Funding for Genetic Manipulations on Human Embryos, that his Predecessor, former US President GWBush, had established on August 2001)...


    Indeed, Obama's exceptionally High pre-Electoral Campaign's Private Funding, (the Biggest in USA's History !), Both on 2008 and 2012 Elections, includes Many "Big Pharma" Corporations, as Facts show. Even if, almost 10 Years Later (2008-2018), Despite a lot of Money vainly wasted on so-called "Medical Research" during all this Time, nevertheless, all this Failed to Bring any significant Breakthrough for Human Health until Nowadays, (But Resulting Only in the Invention of the Controversial "Gene Editing" Technique of "CRISPR9", notoriously Dangerous for all Humankind, since it may Alter even the Genome of Future Generations, normaly Prohibited by BioEthics' Law : See, f.ex., ..., etc).


    => So that, to put it in a nutshell,  Nowadays, European People have to Choose :


- Do they like to Waste Money on Controversial and UnPopular Turkey's EU bid, under the False Pretext that this might, eventually, serve to Stop Mass Asylum Seekers/Irregular Migrants brought in Europe by Turkish Smugglers, (while, in Fact, the Western Balkans' Route was Closed Earlier by European States which are no more letting those Masses comming through Turkey to Pass their Borders : Comp. Supra)? And/or on "Big Pharma", which, after more than 10 Years of Massive Funding for Genetic Manipulations on Humans, Failed to find any Medical Breakthrough for Health, but only resulted into a notoriously Dangerous Technique, with great Risks for Humankind (Comp. Supra) ? 

- Or, do they Prefer for Europe to Develop many and various, useful High-Tech. Capabilities, thanks to that Unique Generator of Inventions, which is Human Space Flight and Space Exploration (Comp. Supra) ?


The forthcoming EU's Elections, Debates and Votes, (including on the Financial Perspectives : Comp. Supra), can give some good Opportunities to usefully Enlighten the necessary Dialogue between EU Citizens and their Political Representatives on these Key Issues, able to Help Forge a Better Future.

 isu_ssp_19_strasbourg_space_studies_program_june__august_2019_eurofora_400

 In this regard, an International Space University's 2,5 Months-long, Space Studies' Program, this Summer 2019 in Strasbourg, apparently due to Focus on Moon projects, could certainly bring some concrete Topical Insights.

 


(../..)
 

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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora"'s Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be Published asap).


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    The incoming Swedish EU Presidency (July-December 2009) may still remain in favour of Turkey's controversial EU bid, despite June 2009 EU Elections' results, but it has "very strong demands on Turkey"'s obligation to respect EU Rules, said the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, to "EuroFora", reacting to critical Press reports.

    - "I know (that) the link is often made also to Sweden's position on Turkey"'s controversial EU bid. Indeed, "we (Swedish EU Presidency) are very much engaged in the future membership of Turkey, but not without fullfiling all the Criteria".

    - "It's very clear that we (Swedish EU Presidecny) have very Strong Demands on Turkey, in a sort of concept for Future membership of the Union, ...which will be a Long Process...", she stressed.

    This means, in particular, "the Copenhagen Criteria (on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law), and also the adaptation to the Acquis of the European Union".

     - "If you listen to what Mr. Bildt (the Swedish Foreign Minister) says on Turkey at different occasions, it's very clear : We want Turkey to become part of the Union, in the Future. But we want it to fullfil all the Criteria : The Acquis of the European Union. That's very clear", she concluded.

    The Senior Official of the Swedish Foreign Ministry was reacting to critical Press Reports, from Brussels' Journalists invited by EU Commission's secretariat to Stockholm, who claimed that Bildt was abusing of a ..."Whip" (sic !) against Cyprus, by "threatening" the presence of UNO's Peace-keeping force at the "Green line" which separates the island's Government-controlled areas from the territories occupied by Ankara's army, if Nicosia didn't accept any political solution, regardless of Turkey's demands, before the end of 2009.

        Governing AKEL Party's new Secretary General, Andros Kyprianou, reacted by declaring that no-one can threat the People of Cyprus : -"We shall decide for our Future, and nobody else",  he reportedly said, asking to "keep calm". "In order to find a Solution soon, certain basic Principles must be respected", he stressed, calling those who feel an urgency to use their influence on Turkey. Other Political Parties were more critical.

    This was a reference to recently reported statements by Turkish Minister Bagis, Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan and Turkey's National Security Council (a Military-Political body), accused to push towards a partitionist "2 States" solution, contrary to UNO SC Resolutions for Cyprus' reunification.

    December 2009 is a crucial moment for EU's appraisal of Turkey's controversial EU bid, because EU Council has decided to review then Ankara's compliance with the European position on the recognition of Cyprus' Government, which was clearly set out by an EU reply of 21 September 2005 to Turkish Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan's claims, refusing to recognize even the existence of EU Member Cyprus, in controversial statements he made to London (former EU chair) on July 29, 2005.

    EU Parliament's latest Resolution on Turkey, adopted on March 2009 in Strasbourg, warned Ankara that "the non-fulfillment of Turkey's commitments... by December 2009, may further seriously affect the process of Negotiations" with the EU.

    In practice, the issue boils down to Ankara's "embargo" against Ships and Airplanes using Cyprus' seaports or airports at the strategic EU island, which traditionaly hosts one of the World's biggest Shipping flags. EU has already "freezed" 6 relevant Chapters in EU - Turkey Negotiations since December 2006, after Ankara refused to fullfil a commitment it had undertaken when EU had decided to open controversial "accession" negotiations with Turkey, back on December 2005.

    - "As far as EU - Turkey relations are concerned, it's clear that Turkey needs to fullfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the additional Protocol (to "EC-Turkey Association Agreement"),  This is an important issue....and should be addresseed as soon as possible as it clearly affects the pace of the accession negotiations.Issues covered by the Declaration of September 2005 will continue to be followed up, and progress is urgently awaited", warned earlier in Strasbourg the out-going Czech EU Presidency (former vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra).

    But the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, Cecilia Julin, dismissed "interpretations" by "some" that Foreign Minister Carl Bildt was reportedly "threatening" Cyprus with consequences on the UNFICYP, if it doesn't accept any solution until December 2009, while Turkey is reportedly delaying in an attempt to impose a partitionist "2 States" solution.

    On the contrary, Julin, stressed that "Sweden has strong demands on Turkey'"s respect of "Copenhagen Criteria and EU Acquis".

    Meanwhile, Sweden  is "concerned" about the risk of "Stalemate" in Cyprus' Talks, but is well aware that "the main responsibilities lie with the two leaders and the UNO", Europe playing only a role of "facilitator".

    After carefully verifying, the Head of Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service, stressed to "EuroFora" that Bildt's reference to UNFICYP "was not linked to a Threat", and dismissed those who "interpreted" it so.

    On the contrary, the Swedish EU Presidency acknowledged the fact that Peace Talks are mainly for the UN and the leaders of the Cypriot communities, EU's role being limited into that of a "facilitator".

    As for Turkey's reported attempts to impose a "2 States' solution", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service sharply replied by stressing that Turkey must respect the "EU Acquis" rules.

    In particular :

    - "Basically he (Bildt) underlined that it's the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus and the UN that have the main responsibilities for solving the problem", started to say the Swedish Senior Official to "EuroFora", referring to the above-mentioned "briefing".

    - "But the EU had a role in sort of pointing out the benefits and facilitating a little bit the outcome for the settlement of the whole Cyprus' issue", she added.

    - "And he did state the Fact, that the rest of the World (i.e. USA, etc) will, of course, look at the differend issues which are at the table, and the future of the UN Peace keeping force is part of what is at the table", she admitted.

    - "I understand that some have interpreted that as a Threat, by the Swedish Minister" "But", in reality, "it's a statement of a Fact, that, when we'll look at the differend issues, one of the issues on which we shall have to take a stand on, is the future of the UN Peace keeping force in Cyprus".

    Indeed, one of the questions usually raised for a Solution of Cyprus' issue is what International and/or European or other Guarantees, by a Peace-keeping force, might be needed afterwards, eventually for a transitory period.

    Questioned anew by "EuroFora" whether (according to critical Press Reports) this could be taken as a veiled warning that, if Cyprus didn't accept any Turkish demand for any solution whatever, it might be left alone to face Ankara's Military Invasion/Occupation, she denied :

    - "He (Bildt) didn't say it in that way"... "It was not linked to a threat, or anything like that", the Head of the Swedish Foreign Ministry's Press Service stressed.

    On the contrary, "he (Bildt) underlined that the main responsibility lies with the parties concerned on the island". "The EU can try to facilitate and show the benefits of reaching a settlement. But also, when the EU and the rest of the World (i.e. USA) will have to look at it, they will look at all the Facts on the table, and the presence of the UN Peace-keeping force is one".

    And "he (Bildt) didn't speak about that at all", she replied to "EuroFora" question on Turkey's reported attemps to impose, in one way of another, a partitionist "2 States solution".

    Asked whether Bildt's aim was to incite both parties to move forward efficiently, she agreed :

    - In fact, "the EU is really very concerned with the Stalemate in the situation. Yes !", the Head of Sweden's Foreign Ministry's Press Service anounced. That's why Bildt "was hoping for the two parties (i.e. for Turkey's also) to engage and break, a little-bit, the present stalemate, come to a solution of the issue" of Cyprus.

    But, replying  to a "EuroFora"s question on the risk, denounced by several politicians in case of strict Time Deadlines, for Turkey to provoke a stalemate and wait for the time to come to impose a partitionist "2 States' solution", she reacted by pointing at Turkey's obligation to respect "EU Acquis" :

    - "Turkey must fullfil the EU Acquis : That's clear !", the Swedish Senior Official stressed.

    More details are expected when Swedish Prime Minister Reinfeldt will debate his Programme with new MEPs at EU Parliament's plenary mid-July in Strasbourg, that he has visited already in 2008.

    Foreign Minister Carl Bildt became familiar with Strasbourg's CoE last year, when Sweden chaired the PanEuropean organization of Human Rights. As EU chairman-in-office, he will also chair the 27-member States strong EU Group inside the 47-member States strong CoE.

    Minister for EU affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom is well known at EU Parliament, where she has been an active MEP of the Liberal Group for many years, following also Press Freedom issues.

    Both have already made various statements at "EuroFora", on differend topical matters.

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