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The future of space has a woman’s name

Thursday September 23, 2021 | Space

  • From “Artemis”, the NASA’s plan for the colonization of the Moon, to the role of women in space projects.

The second day of the summit on space and underwater tourism, SUTUS 2021, organized by Medina Media Events and Les Roches Marbella, had a female prominence.

One of the most distinguished speakers, professor and doctor Pascale Ehrenfreund, is a reference. She is president of the International Astronautical Federation and the asteroid “9826 Ehrenfreund 2114 T-3” bears her name. She has also recently been appointed president of the International Space University. “International cooperation is essential for technological development in terms of global challenges on earth. This should inspire young people, which is one of our goals, especially bringing more women into our research field.” This was one of the headlines he shared with the attendees at SUTUS 2021.

Japanese Hiroko Asakura, deputy director of the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) in Paris, also joined this call. Asakura highlighted the increasingly important role of women in space exploration. “We expect the role of women in the space industry to reach a higher level in the coming years, as there are currently very few women in management positions. Although it is a challenge, we are trying to bring women to a high level in this field.

From the Space Training Academy, another woman, Nancy Vermeulen, has launched an optimistic message for all those citizens who want to experience space tourism: “Space is opening up to many more people. We are already astronauts on Earth”.

This statement is also shared by Roman Chiporukha, CEO of Space VIP, who, with decades of experience in the field of luxury tourism, already has in his hands one of the three tickets for Axiom Space’s 10-day mission, which will be piloted by Spanish-American commander Michael López Alegría in January 2022 and includes a one-week stay on the International Space Station (ISS). “Space is not just for astronauts or a couple of scientists. It’s for everyone who is in it. I encourage people to aspire, to achieve more, and to come together to make real advances in the future.”

Also from the US, Jane Poynter, founder of Space Perspective, has shared her vision as the world’s first luxury spaceflight experience company, “We’re giving thousands, hundreds of thousands, eventually millions of people, access to space in a safe, comfortable and gentle way.” The company’s first flight is scheduled for 2024, and is already sold out. Space Perspective is currently accepting reservations for 2025 and beyond.

Meanwhile, NASA has given its plan to colonize the moon a woman’s name: ARTEMIS. Sam Scimemi, head of NASA’s human spaceflight program, presented his plans for the Moon and Mars, and acknowledged at SUTUS that “to return from a distance like the one to Mars is still a challenge”.

The second day’s sessions concluded with another woman’s name: a retired NASA astronaut, Nicole Stott, who reflected on the under-recognized role of women in the space industry over the past few decades. “That is perhaps the reason why a girl does not consider working in certain fields of science and engineering”.

The spanish role in the event

The second day of SUTUS 2021 also had a Spanish stamp, with the Malaga engineer José María Ortega-Hernández, head of the Green Moon Project in which they are working closely with China. “Taking into account the future establishments that will be on the Moon and Mars we must understand very well how to feed the future space tourists.”

“From Spain we must lead the world space tourism” highlights also José Mariano López-Urdiales, CEO of Zero 2 Infinity. “We have a very cutting-edge space industry, the best weather conditions, it is one of the most desired destinations in the world and it is a natural continuation of the leadership in tourism that we already have”.

Even Tony Gannon, Vice President of Research and Innovation Space Florida, has emphasized that “We offer funding to Spanish companies that are interested in developing projects in the aerospace tourism industry.” Gannon has presented a report on the main projects that aerospace companies are launching, in the midst of strong competition between SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, etc., to position themselves as leaders in this new line of business in aeronautics and luxury tourism worldwide.

“Tourists are ‘wishing to travel’ and are looking for destinations and different experiences after the pandemic, so there are many opportunities in this sector,” said Maribel Rodriguez, vice-president Commercial of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), at the beginning of the day. 

And another woman, the director of innovation at Les Roches Marbella, Susana Garrido, shared that “we need these pioneers and explorers to be able to innovate and open new frontiers for tourism”.

Arturo Bernal, CEO of Extenda-Andalucía, highlighted in his speech that “space tourism opens up plenty of opportunities for many of our companies”.

The second edition of SUTUS has a hybrid format, with a first day held yesterday at Les Roches Marbella and two more virtual days, today Thursday September 23 and tomorrow Friday September 24. The sessions of the three days can be followed after registration through the virtual platform of Medina Media Events, through which attendees can schedule video meetings with other participants and speakers, as well as visit exclusive online demos.

SUTUS 2021 is supported by the Andalusian Tourism Council, Costa del Sol Tourism and Planning, Council of Marbella, Extenda, Acosol, Triton Submarines and Pisces VI.

The agenda for the three days is already available on the official website of SUTUS.

To register, please visit this link.

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