Fifty years after the successful human landing of Apollo 11 on the Moon, the role of space exploration has created various technological, innovation and socio-economic benefits. Many of these benefits go unnoticed but the impetus for a space economy, particularly in Europe has grown as its contribution to what is currently Industry 4.0 is publicly recognised. The OECD defines the space economy as:
The space economy includes: all public and private actors involved in developing and providing space-enabled products and services. It comprises a long value- added chain, starting with research and development actors and manufacturers of space hardware (e.g. launch vehicles, satellites, ground stations) and ending with the providers of space-enabled products (e.g. navigation equipment, satellite phones) and services (e.g. satellite-based meteorological services or direct-to-home video services) to final users.
But this a rather limited and dated definition given that space programmes and missions increasingly underpin socio-economic benefits that arise from technology diffusion and the creation of innovation milieu. For example, smart cities; GPS; AI and robotics, electric and autonomous vehicles and potentially smart specialisation projects. Many of these examples are manifested through co-location of the space industry and complementary activities in what can be called Space Cities of which Bremen, Torino and Toulouse are examples. These city-regions also provide the propulsive basis of Space 4.0 as place-based industrial policy for the European space sector.
Space missions increasingly cross public and private organisational boundaries, with many privately- funded space missions displaying quasi- public good characteristics. The European Space Agency (ESA) has four benefits categories of socio-economic benefits from its major exploration;
Economic competitiveness and growth;
New means to address Global Challenges/Sustainable Development Goals;
ESA’s Smart 4.0i industrial policy provides a central framework for pursuing these objectives that are aligned with the European Commission’s (EC) Space 4.0 strategy.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Space strategy for Europe COM (2016) 705 final
This seminar examines cases from the ESA European Exploration Envelope Programme (E3P) in order to explore the prospect of Space 4.0 transforming Europe’s regions and their economic governance in realising Industry 4.0 as a disrupting process and offers some implications for regional policy.