In an official report released February 7th, the French Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST) outlined its suggestions for the future of French and European space policy.
The report, authored by Christian Cabal, Deputy from the Loire region, and Henri Revol, Senator from the Côte d’Or, comes in response to President George W. Bush’s Vision for Space Exploration, as well as the rapid development of space technologies by China and India, among others. Major proposals in the report include:
1.) France should begin developing nuclear-powered satellites, in cooperation with the French Atomic Energy Commission and French industry, in order to allow deep-space exploration;
2.) the Ariane 5 ECA should be re-conformed so that it is able to launch humans within five years;
3.) sanctions should be imposed on any European nation that does not give preference to European launch vehicles for government civil and military satellites;
4.) France and other European governments should aid companies that propose the development of suborbital flight systems destined for a space-tourism industry; and
5.) NATO members should work towards harmonizing their existing military satellite telecommunications systems within two years.
According to the report, space is a strategic asset and Europe cannot afford to lose ground to nations such as the United States, China, India and Russia. The report calls for more “audacity” in European space policy.