Another successful edition of the Belgian Space Gathering
A new successful edition of the Belgian Space Gathering on January the 16th, where the entire Belgian space community raised a toast and exchanged thoughts on the challenges of 2020.
The Belgian Space Gathering, the annual reception organized by Antwerp Space, where policy makers, senior scientists and captains of industry meet in an informal setting to mark the New Year was held on the 16th of January. This year it was hosted at the glamorous and recently renovated Handelsbeurs, a historical heritage site which centuries ago was the economic heart of Antwerp. More than 100 people attended the event, including numerous high level officials representing the Flemish, Belgian federal, ESA and EU authorities involved in space. The breathtaking venue included outstanding gourmet food and a live duet by a Belgian award-winning violinist and her sister cellist, which all contributed to make this event a real success, praised by the many participants.
A very important topic discussed that evening was the successful outcome of the ESA ministerial council held in November 2019. The ESA budget for mandatory activities has increased for the first time since 1995. A new set of programs in all domains was funded. Space for Europe is of major importance and the 22 member states have never invested so much in it. Belgium has invested 816 million EUR, more than twice the relative economic weight of Belgium in Europe. An investment nearly equal to the Spanish budget.
This year the event was another great opportunity to network and discuss ideas. Compared to other fields of economic activity, the Belgian space sector is relatively modest in size. Therefore, it is imperative for Belgian companies to bundle their forces in space business.