Aerospace achievements, benefits for society
Once in a while, you can read news about satellites being launched or research carried out far away from Earth on the International Space Station (ISS), or even farther away on planets like Mars. What are the benefits such research brings to society?
To answer this question, the Spanish Association of Technology Companies for Defence, Aeronautics and Space (TEDAE) organised ‘El espacio abierto’ (Open Space), a meeting that gathered experts from the aerospace industry, engineers, members of catastrophe assistance teams and popular science authors.
The event, held 20 September at Giner de los Ríos Foundation in Madrid, was attended by the Director of the Pamplona Planetarium, astrophysicist Javier Armentia; the head of the ICT Division at the Military Emergency Unit, Rodolfo Arroyo; the Director of Corporate Development at Madrid 112, Jose María Rodríguez; EFEfuturo/EFEverde Assistant Manager Pedro Pablo May; and Roberto Brasero, host of Tu Tiempo on Antena 3, among others.
The importance of communication against the digital gap
According to the experts at the event, aerospace activities have a direct impact on our society; for example, in fields like information and communications technology, remote sensing, Internet or catastrophe assistance.
In his speech, Mr Armentia highlighted the importance of the public dissemination of scientific achievements, an issue that ‘space agencies understand well.’
‘Space is a history we all share. We should affirm our narratives of the progress made in the space age so far. Space research can evoke feelings,’ he said, while predicting, ‘we will get back to the Moon’ and even ‘reach Mars’ one day in the distant future.
In addition to technology and space achievements, the experts talked about bridging the digital gap to facilitate learning and development. They all discussed the benefits of the latest space technologies, in particular those related to satellites, for emergency situations.
‘Spain is a leader in emergency information systems, which our country supplies abroad,’ said Rodolfo Arroyo. In this context, he mentioned the 112 Geographic Information System – winner of the ESRI 2010 Award – as a success story that drew international attention.
Next-generation satellites have brought fast and reliable Internet access to rural areas, which can get learning services and medical assistance more easily now.
Spain sets eyes on space
This year, Spain took over the presidency of the Ministerial Council of the European Space Agency (ESA), a position our country will hold until 2019.
Currently, Spain is one of the five European leaders in aerospace investment. This was made possible by the development of a robust industrial sector over the past 15 years. Also, our country is one of the few that can fully design, develop and operate satellites.
The three industries that make up TEDAE recorded a turnover of 10,700 million euro last year, that is, 1% of the total GDP and 6% of its industrial component. According to TEDAE sources, they provide employment for more than 55,000 highly qualified professionals.