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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
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*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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Swedish Foreign Minister, Carl Bildt, speaking  to "EuroFora", denied rumors on Turkey's attempts to avoid an EU check of its obligations on Cyprus on December 2009 by blackmailing Nicosia to either accept any deal with intransigeant Turkish claims contrary to EU values on the island's political issue, or face threats against the territorial integriy of the EU island, semi-occupied by Ankara's army.

On the contrary, the incoming EU President-in-office, speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", promissed that he will act for EU Council's decisions on December 2009 assessment of Turkey's commitments on Cyprus to be kept.


    Bildt was asked to react to Cyprus' President Christofias' denunciation, earlier this week, that some want to exert "pressure" on Cyprus in order for Turkey to escape from its obligations.

    Avoiding to mention any precise Deadline, Bildt, however, warned about "Consequences" in case of "failure" to reunite Cyprus, but without saying whose responsibility an eventual deadlock might be.  

 Asked by "EuroFora" if there is a risk for "Turkey's commitments to "be forgotten or downgraded", "despite crystal-clear EU Council decisions and EU Parliament's latest Resolution on the assessment to make at the end of this year on Turkey's obligations", according to rumours that, instead of pressing Turkey, on the contrary, there might be "pressure on Cyprus", even "blackmail", as Media reported and President Christofias denounced this week, Bildt denied :

- "No ! ", he clearly replied.


- On the contrary, invited by "EuroFora", to "reassure that the Swedish EU Presidency (7-12/2009) will keep a fair stance, based on principles",  Bildt promised that "we (Swedish EU Presidency) will be very clear on all of the decisions taken by the (EU) Council".

He added, however, that "we have very numerous decisions that have been taken" by EU Council, as if he warned, also, on something else.

- "'I am not aware of any sort of statements coming out today''", Bildt started to say, on our reference to Cyprus' President Christofias" denunciation of Turkish lobby's manoeuvers this week, replying earlier to 'another"EuroFora"'s question during a Press Conference at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.


 - '"I know the issues that you' are concerned with'", he added, remembering  the statements he gave us when Sweden was chairing the PanEuropean CoE on 2008.

- "But, obviously, .. I think that Cyprus' Peace negotiations are extremenly important".

- And "'I think that we are at a unique moment in History, in the sens that both (Cyprus') President Christofias and Mr. Talat (the Turkish Cypriot leader), are personally convinced of the need to overcome the division".

 - "It's 20 Years since the fall of Berlin Wal, but we still have a Capital in Europe (Nicosia) that's divided". ,

- 'I don't that we should loose any time in overcoming that"..

 - ''We should be aware of the fact that success will bring great benefits, but failure, will also have major consequences. There will not be Status Quo' " It's a question of seeking a solution, or entering another situation, which is somewhat difficult to see exactly how that could evolve", he warned.

- "That being said, this is a negotiation for Cyprus itself", Bildt admitted.

 - ''We (EU) can support, the (EU) Commission primarily, be technically helpful, and then, of course, there is a specific role for the UN, when it comes to the Cyprus' situation".  

- "At least so far. It might not be for ever'. Certainly not for ever, but for this period of time", Bildt added, skiping now any reference to concrete threats on UNO's Peace keeping force in face of more than 40.000 Ankara's soldiers, contrary to some Press claims, (See previous NewsReports).


     Replying to another "EuroFora"'s Question,  if anyone might attempt to "impose a Deadline for the conclusion" of Cyprus' Talks on December 2009, Bildt avoided to speak of any precise Time-frame, and indirectly evoked the fact that  35 Years of Turkish Invasion/Occupation obviously durated too long :

'- "If I was from Cyprus, I would say that the Deadline was Yesterday ! '",
Bildt concluded.

Cyprus' Government Spokesman, Stephanou, reportedly pointed out that "a settlement is possible on December if Turkey changes its stance", accepting a solution for the reunification of the island based on UNO resolutiona and EU principles.

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Earlier, EU Chair, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeld, highlighted an "historic opportunity" to "re-Unite" Cyprus according to EU's "basic Values"' (i.e. Human Rights) and 'Rules'", in a last-minute change of his draft speech to EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    The initial Draft spoke only about "healing" the island.

    Significantly, Reinfeldt linked Cyprus' reunification with Turkey's obligations to respect EU's "Values" and "follow" EU's "common Rules" :

    - What is "called Membership Negotiations" should lead, "at- the end of the day", into "sharing a set of common Basic Values (i.e. Human Rights, Democracy, etc), and following common Rules", stressed Reinfeld from the outset.
    
    - "This is something that those on the Outside (of the EU), are now  contemplating", up "to Ankara", for "a solution" on "Cyprus", observed the EU Chairman, immediately afterwards..  

    - "Both sides of Cyprus have been granted a historic opportunity to together reach an agreement on a solution to re-Unite the island, that has been divided for far too long", said Reinfeldt, modifying his draft text.


-  "The Swedish Presidency will act ...in accordance with Commitments EU has made, on the basis of Criteria that apply", "as a Honest Broker", he promised.    

- "To those on the inside (of the EU), allowing the membership process to become an opportunity to solve protracted disputes, can be tempting", he added.


    "In such cases, we must find solutions that can benefit both sides, and open up a way forward. Otherwise, it would jeopardize the progress we have made towards EU integration", Reinfeldt said.

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