IPSPACE 2021 concluded, space scientists propose to promote space technology to tackle the challenge of global climate change

Meng Yan, Joint Secretary General of IPA   2021-11-21

After three days of online exchanges and discussions, 2021 International Symposium on the Peaceful Use of Space Technology - Health concluded on the evening of November 20th. IPSPACE 2021 was jointly held by Chinese Society of Astronautics (CSA), China Hi-Tech Industrialization Association, China Association of Remote Sensing Application, Chinese Society of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China Electronics Chamber of Commerce (CECC) and International Peace Alliance (Space).

Inheriting the ideal of "One Space, One Home", IPSPACE 2021 focused on in-depth discussions on topics such as green space and sustainable development in response to the currently prominent global challenge of climate change and energy issue. It is reported that this is the first international event on space technology to tackle climate change after the COP-26 in Glasgow. More than 1 million people around the world watched the online live broadcast of the event.

IPSPACE 2021 was supported by International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), International Astronautical Federation (IAF), American Space Foundation, Association of Space Explorers, International Institute of Space Law, International Space University, Rice University’s Baker Institute’s International Space Medicine Summit (ISMS), George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations. Chinese and foreign scientists jointly released the Initiative for Space Technologies Responding to Climate Change. At the same time, the event reached broad consensus on space technology to health, industrial promotion, and international cooperation, etc.

George Abbey, IPSPACE Honorary Chair, Chair, Rice University’s Baker Institute’s International Space Medicine Summit (RICE ISMS)

Fully Develop the Potential of Space Technology

Luc St-Pierre, Chief of Space Applications Section (SAS), United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), said in his keynote speech, humanity found that 40% of all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depend on space technology. If the potential of space technology has been fully exploited, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be reached faster. To protect the public interest of space, maintaining the peace, security, and sustainability of space applications is a key factor and a commitment, which is the basis of the work of the United Nations.

David Alexander, Director of Rice Space Institute, said that earth is a complete ecosystem. If earth shrinks to the size of basketball, the atmosphere may not be as thick as a piece of paper wrapped over the basketball. Earth, the home of mankind is very fragile and needs to be protected by all countries around the world.

The event holds the opinion that, in the past half century or so, the space technology and space infrastructures developed in the process of space exploration have brought mankind more convenient and diverse ways of communication, better capabilities of disaster mitigation and prevention as well as medical and health care, which have greatly pushed forward social economic development. Scientists advocated to let these space infrastructures play a greater role in tackling climate change, guiding our productive activities to make them low-carbon, more efficient, and more sustainable.

Space scientists suggested that, in order to strengthen applications and innovative cooperation of space technology to tackle climate change, it is important to strengthen international cooperation and exchanges to improve the capabilities to tackle climate change and pay close attention to the applications of remote sensing and meteorological satellites, big data researches, and earth observation from space, promote the application and innovation of spatial IT to address climate change. It is advocated to strengthen international cooperation and exchanges in the development and utilization of extraterrestrial resources, reduce carbon emissions from space exploration activities, and promote carbon neutrality.

Similarly, promoting the development and applications of space technology cannot be separated from education as well as talent training and introduction. Ding Wenfeng, Chairman of Western China Human Resources Development Foundation, said that exploring space is to venture in an unknown world. Fostering future scientists should start with kids and promote international cooperation and overseas talent introduction.

Make Mankind Better Enjoy the Dividends of Space Technology

Space technology and human health have always been the main focus of all IPSPACE events. This year, under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, discussion on space health has been more in-depth and pragmatic.

Deng Yulin, Chairman of the IAA Life Sciences Commission, Zhang Shu, Director of Heart Rhythm Committee of Chinese Medical Doctor Association, Du Jichen, Director of China Aerospace Center Hospital, and experts in aerospace medicine from the United States, Russia, and Europe discussed and exchanged on topics such as “Space Hospital” and the Health of the Earth's Inhabitants, Ground Applications of Aerospace Medicine, Biomanufacturing Technology, Digital Enabling Research on Health, Space Radiation and the Basic Research of Its Prevention, etc., and had a Panel Discussion on Application of AI and Big Data in Human Health.

Zhang Shu, Director, Heart Rhythm Committee, Chinese Medical Doctor Association

Oleg Orlov, Director of Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said that 60 years ago, we successfully sent human into space. Now we need to combine the efforts of space research with the experience accumulated in the medical field, to better serve human’s everyday life. The next steps are to have more extensive international cooperation, and such efforts will be successful.

Rice University has been in a leading position in space medicine in the world and its Baker Institute holds the International Space Medicine Summit every year. George Abbey, IPSPACE Honorary Chair and Chair of Rice University’s Baker Institute’s International Space Medicine Summit (RICE ISMS), who served as a commander of Apollo space launch mission, said that now is a very difficult time for the whole world due to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. But space technology is most likely to offer the best solution for us.

Xu Hongliang, Secretary General of China National Space Administration, said in his speech that the Chinese space community has actively explored space technologies for epidemic prevention and control and the resumption of work and production, opening new applications for space technologies. In the future, the Chinese space industry will expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation with an even more open attitude to serve human health and social economic development.

Promote Industry-Academia-Research Development of Space Technology

Peaceful use is the whole purpose of innovative development of space technology. Focusing on Deepening Application of Spatial IT in New Era and Human Sustainable Development, Space Breeding and Space Biology Research and Space Technology and Industrial Investment, IPSPACE 2021 held exchanges and discussions in the form of parallel sessions and further clarified the objectives, paths and measures for integrated development of space industry.

IPSPACE 2021 held that China's small and medium-sized enterprises are the main force of space technology in the country. They contribute more than 50% of national income, more than 60% of GDP, more than 70% of technological innovation and more than 85% of job opportunities. They are facing crucial opportunities and challenges in promoting the development of space technology industrialization.

Wang Ning, President of China Electronics Chamber of Commerce (CECC), introduced that CECC has 12000 enterprise members, and 85% of them are medium-sized, small, and micro enterprises. Among them, many are “specialized, cutting-edge, unique, and innovative” electronics and IT enterprises which are an important part of the whole spatial IT ecosystem. With the development of space, these IT SMEs will enter a new era of rapid growth.

Wang Ning, President of China Electronics Chamber of Commerce (CECC)

Barbara Ghinelli, Director of Clusters and Campus Development, UKRI-Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), introduced that Harwell Campus in the UK has established innovation clusters in space, energy, and health and is constructing four quantum clusters. These clusters are mainly supported by the cooperation among enterprises, academia, and government. This enables advanced technologies to be translated into commercial products and innovation clusters can ensure the maximum utilization of government investment in scientific research and promote social and economic development.

Barbara Ghinelli, Director of Clusters and Campus Development, UKRI-Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Leaders and experts from Cité de l'espace (Toulouse Space City), Romanian Space Agency, China Association of Remote Sensing Application (CARSA), GNSS & LBS Association of China (GLAC), China Communications Industry Association (CCIA), Modern Agriculture and Space Breeding Committee of the China High-Tech Industrialization Association, China Medicine Education Association (CMEA), Zhongguancun Lingchuang Commercial Aeros Industrial Alliance, Shenzhen Aviation Association, etc, shared researches, experience and practices of industry development.

At the closing ceremony, International Innovation Research Institute (IIRI) jointly established by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the International Peace Alliance (Space), announced the launch of the " Innovative Star Enterprise and Project Selection Platform of Space Science and Technology Applications and Transformation" and announced the Establishment of Financial Street Wingo Institute and the Young Financiers Club.

[Contributor: Meng Yan, Joint Secretary General of International Peace Alliance (Space)]