Fusion Forum Panels 2014 - DISRUPTIVE

Note: Description of the panels may be slightly modified to taylor the scope of the discussions; however, the main topics will remain the same.


Panel 1: Small Satellites: Benefits and Risks

Small satellites have becoming increasingly important to global space activity. The relatively low cost of these systems lowers barriers to entry, allowing smaller nations, private organisations, university groups, and others to develop and operate satellites. The capabilities of these small satellites have been steadily increasing, providing a wide range of potentially meaningful contributions to many space activities.

This panel will examine the benefits of small satellites both in terms of their practical applications and use for capacity-building. How do the capabilities of small satellites compare to those of larger, more complex satellites? In what instances is each type of programme most appropriate? In addition to their benefits, the proliferation of small satellite technology also poses challenges and risks, with the potential to negatively affect responsible and sustainable use of space by an increasing number of actors, as well as compounding the problem of orbital debris.


Panel 2: Innovating in Aerospace: Barriers and Opportunities

The space sector has often been characterised as using the most advanced technologies, particular in the eyes of the public. However, some features inherent to the space sector hinder innovation, in particular the risk aversion that arises from the high cost of building spacecraft and operating in space, and long lifecycles that result in the utilisation of proven technologies.

This panel will discuss how the actors in the space sector (governments, industry and academia) need to modify their policies toward a new innovation framework by adopting best practices from other industries, promoting the development of an entrepreneurial industry, fostering public-private partnerships, and increasing the pace of technology development cycles.


Panel 3: Emerging spacefarers: New entrants to space in Africa, Latin America, and Asia

Space activities now touch every part of the world. No country – no matter how small its economy – can afford to ignore developments in space. At the same time, every major space agency and firm sees partnership and market opportunities across the globe. In spite of these changes, discussions of international space affairs often overlook countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. With this panel, we aim to address this gap.

Participants will explore how governments and markets in these developing countries are changing the global space sector. They will draw out trends taking shape across these new entrants, including, for example, the growth in demand for satellite hardware, communications services, and remote-sensing data in some of the world's least-developed countries. This panel will also examine how developments in the global space sector affect the choices before governments and firms in developing countries. Among these are choices about whether and how to allocate scarce public resources to space activities and at what opportunity costs. This discussion will allow participants to reevaluate familiar claims about whether and how space activities contribute to development.


Panel 4: Human Spaceflight: Potential Architectures and Goals for Exploration

The International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG) Mission Scenario represents a baseline framework for the world's space agencies to incrementally and collaboratively develop Mars exploration capabilities through missions to near-Earth asteroids and the Moon. However, the growth of privately-owned space ventures, changing geopolitics, and new scientific discoveries on other worlds (especially Europa, Titan, Enceladus, and increasing numbers of ever smaller exoplanets) may have disruptive implications to current exploration architectures. This panel will discuss how human spaceflight futures might differ from the baseline scenario.


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