As in previous years, the private space sector continues to evolve with the times. National security became of particularly acute concern starting in 2022, and state and military orders significantly picked up. The United States remains the leading country in this matter, and it has made a huge bet specifically on private business to provide for its military needs, from intelligence to communications and logistics. These issues will also dominate discussions at international business-to-government meetings.

As usual, the main international events and conferences of 2024 will include Paris Space Week 2024, the Global Aerospace Summit, International Astronautical Congress, Space Tech Expo Europe, and others. But beyond noting when these events will take place, it is also worth considering the topics to which these conferences will be devoted.

Paris Space Week 2024, March 12-13, 2024

Europe’s largest space exhibition/forum/business networking event will be held on March 12 and 13. Paris Space Week 2024 will play host to many small meetings, demonstrations of the latest developments, and large panels with expert speakers, as well as challenges from headliners in the space business such as Airbus and Lockheed Martin, and even a special challenge from the European Space Agency.

The main topics of Paris Space Week 2024 will be legal issues in the field of private space, as well as ways to attract investments for both large companies and very young startups. Speakers will also discuss leading trends and currents in the market. As usual, one of the key topics will be stability and sustainable development.

space conference Paris Space Week

Global Aerospace Summit, April 30 — May 2, 2024

The Global Aerospace Summit is an international policy and business forum for the aviation and aerospace sectors which draws industry sector leaders. As in 2022, the summit will be held this year in the UAE.

The three-day event will bring together industry and government representatives from the highest levels, and the central theme will of course be the UAE’s path to dominance in the Middle East’s aerospace sector. However, despite this focus on the host country, the forum is a good platform for startups to seek contracts, as well as to attract investments. The organizers promise to invite at least a thousand members of the top management of aviation and space companies this year, and more than a hundred speakers will have the opportunity to speak on numerous panels. The main topics will be investment and industry development, mechanisms for attracting resources and the future architecture of business relations, with an emphasis on the Middle East region.

Global Aerospace Summit

Space Tech Expo USA, May 13-15, 2024

Space Tech Expo USA will return in 2024 with a new format and expanded program divided into two main themes: technology and industry. More than 40 technical-level speakers from all branches of the industry will help conference participants explore the key issues and opportunities of the US domestic and international space industry.

The new technology component will focus on electronics for new spacecraft, innovative materials, environmental testing, and the manufacturing of components for space flight. The industrial part of the conference will discuss satellite connectivity solutions, artificial intelligence, robotics, index-sequential storage method (ISAM), and the development of industry infrastructure for validation and verification. Speakers will also focus on the topic of space policy and its consequences for commercial services, which has become increasingly relevant in recent years.

4S Symposium, May 26-30, 2024

The Small Satellites Systems and Services Symposium, or 4S, remains one of the main conferences in the space sector. This year’s theme will be space industry transformation. Usually, the term is used to explain strategic changes in the operations of companies aimed at moving away from their core business to avoid bankruptcy in a changing economy. It seems to have affected all sectors, with retailers feeling the effects of e-commerce and car manufacturers switching to producing zero-emission cars. Cleaner and healthier e-bikes require a re-planning of the space reserved for personal transport in large cities.

The space sector has already found itself in trouble, with major telecommunications satellites affected by the shift from live television to online media services. The transformations in the economy are profound and can happen in an instant, pushing an entire market sector out of business. Can these events be predicted, and how can companies prepare? What combination of mindset change and technological innovation will transform the small satellite business?

These and other questions will be tackled by the conference’s speakers. According to standard 4S practice, selected papers are to be discussed in a special session on the first day of the event. The program will also include technical sessions and programs, including remote Earth observation, science, telecommunications, and navigation. 

satellite orbiting Earth

World Space Business Week, September 16-20, 2024

World Space Business Week, to take place this year in Paris, aims to bring together 1,600 executives from space companies and agencies under one roof for intensive discussions on shaping the future of the industry. The conference has been held since 1997, but the 2024 format, dedicated to the transformation of space business, will be reflected even in the event’s name, which was previously World Satellite Business Week. The transition from Satellite to Space also reflects the organizers’ attempt to expand the format of the event, which will focus on the issues of the European space sector.

A special part of the World Space Business Week will actually be a separate event within the conference titled the Space Defense & Security Summit, dedicated to security issues that are currently being acutely faced by European leaders in the space industry. This meeting of world leaders in the field of defense, security, and the space industry will take place on September 17 and 18, also in Paris. Organized by Euroconsult in collaboration with the French defense and military establishment, the summit will serve as a platform to bring together world leaders in the space defense and security sectors for a comprehensive two-day discussion specifically focused on addressing the sector’s key challenges and opportunities.

Space Defense & Security

International Astronautical Congress 2024, October 14-18

The 75th International Congress of Astronautics, organized by the International Astronautical Federation (IAF), will be held in Milan on October 14-18, and will bring together more than 8,000 experts from industry, research institutions, and academia for an international debate on the use of space to support sustainable development.

Under the theme of “Responsible space for sustainable development,” IAC 2024 aims to emphasize the importance of space as an environment that should be safe and open for exploration, peaceful use, and international cooperation of present and future generations in the interests of the planet and all nations, regardless of the level of their development and without any discrimination.

More and more countries, as well as public and private players, are getting involved in the space economy. However, Earth’s orbit is a limited resource, and any overcrowding entails risks in terms of safety, global pollution, and the availability of data and services provided by space technologies. Currently, there are just under 8,000 satellites in orbit, about 5,000 of which are operational. Their number is set to increase significantly in the next few years. In domains including industry, agriculture, transport, energy, finance, urban development, communication, environmental monitoring, and security, space systems are the main tool for creating a more digital, green, and sustainable future. They are also vital to the functioning of society, the economy, and world trade.

The development of cooperation and the intelligent use of space as a resource will be the key topic of the three streams of the conference, which will last almost a week.

space debris around Earth

Space Tech Expo Europe, November 19-21

At the end of 2024, the organizers of Space Tech Expo Europe will invite players in the space sector to meet in Bremen, Germany to sum up the year and to showcase the latest developments in the space industry. The exhibition will bring together more than 700 companies that have something to show to market players.

Space Tech Expo Europe is one of the main platforms for IT and technological startups, and offers them opportunity to visually show their developments and attract investments or find partners. The exhibition will include a conference dedicated to investment and commercialization of space, maintenance, manufacturing and assembly work in orbit, as well as security issues.

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These conferences represent only a fraction of the international events dedicated to the space economy and the commercialization of orbit. However, with the organizers of the topics already mentioned, one can already understand what issues are worrying the industry: investments, development, and security. The latter topic was not particularly trendy until 2022, but tectonic changes in the security map of the world are forcing space companies to respond to new challenges and find new ways to operate.