Venturing beyond the boundaries of our planet, the Elevate space conference is taking place at the Grimaldi Forum from Tuesday 17th October to Thursday 19th October. The conference features a lineup of prominent speakers, each offering unique insights into the topics of space technologies and sustainability.
Focusing on the afternoon sessions that took place Tuesday 17th October, Monaco Life witnessed exhilarating speeches, ranging from the personal journey of an astronaut to innovative space tourism ventures and space logistics. These talks painted a captivating picture of what lies beyond Earth’s atmosphere and the shared destiny of space and humanity.
The cosmic chronicles
Michel Tognini, CNES and ESA astronaut and head of the European Astronaut Centre of the European Space Agency, took the audience on an unforgettable journey through his space travels. He shared captivating photos from his time in space and described the incredible experience of launching into the unknown at a staggering 28,000 km/h.
Tognini emphasised the unity that exists in space travel, recounting missions that brought together astronauts from Russia and the United States. He provided historical context and discussed the complexity of preparing for a mission to Mars, a task more intricate than reaching the moon, saying, “space has only 60 years of invention, meaning there is a lot of opportunity for space innovation”.
Space tourism for everyone
Participants learned about Zero 2 Infinity, which aims to democratise space travel, making it an accessible, eco-friendly experience. Jose Mariano Lopez Uridales, CEO of Zero 2 Infinity, described their innovative approach, which offers luxury space travel, lasting two hours, comparing it to “like watching a movie”.
The company’s vision extends beyond tourism, with custom and research missions on the horizon. Jose Mariano highlighted the ongoing “private race to space”, saying “the space sector was incubated by governments and it’s now going through a billionaire phase, and eventually it will become like any other sector, like the internet for example”.
Jose Mariano finished his speech by saying: “We must make the earth as good as possible for all of us. To do this, we must make space travel mainstream and relevant to everybody”.
Revolutionising space logistics
D-Orbit represents a new wave of companies entering the space sector. Luca Rossettini, CEO of D-Orbit, addressed the growing challenge of managing the multitude of satellites orbiting Earth. In this context, D-Orbit presents an innovative solution, “think of us as a DHL track”, said Rossettini.
D-Orbit transforms the space sector through space logistics, cloud computing, and cybersecurity. The company also focuses on validating in-orbit technologies and has plans of enabling in-orbit servicing to reduce space debris, with “the first paid mission going to happen in 2026”, said Rossettini.
Pioneering satellite launches
Skyrora, a British rocket company, specialises in launching small satellites into space. Anfisa Anikushina, the investment director at Skyrora, highlighted the company’s pivotal role in filling a critical void in the European market for satellite launchers, with a primary focus on providing in-orbit services, as there is currently “no operational small satellite launchers in Europe”, according to Anikushina.
Bringing space closer to home, Anikushina shared an inspiring narrative about a former International School of Monaco (ISM) student who is actively contributing to the company while successfully managing their university studies.
Keynote panel: charting a sustainable space future
As the afternoon talks drew to a close, all the speakers came together for an enthralling panel discussion that delved into crucial topics. They highlighted the significance of the circular economy, the emergence of benefit corporations, and the critical need for environmental protection. Notably, among the attendees, there was a Monaco resident with plans for his own space voyage who sought valuable advice from Michel Togini regarding his upcoming cosmic journey.
The speakers shared their vision of creating a sustainable future and the importance of international cooperation, a sentiment inspired by the collaborative spirit found in space.
Photo by Monaco Life