Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : beSPACE, the community for space enthusiasts in Belgium, is a Belgian volunteer-based non-profit organisation founded in 2013 by a group of students and young professionals aiming to connect students and (young) professionals involved in space-related activities and help them with their education, training and career. It organised its first networking event, the Space Dinner, that same year. Since then the number of members has increased significantly, currently reaching 326, while the variety of events has expanded as well - from the Space Dinner, oriented towards the general public, with 270 registrations to company visits and smaller Sessions on specific topics for 15 people. In 2017 beSPACE introduced the beSPACE Awards to recognize and reward one individual (Personality of the Year) and one team (Team of the Year) that have made exceptional contributions to the (Belgian) space scene. The beSPACE core team consists of volunteers from many different backgrounds. The communication strategy is based on social media, a newsletter and a website. beSPACE published a White Paper in 2016, in which the core team outlines four recommendations in order for Belgium to remain a competitive European partner. These recommendations are: the creation of opportunities for the young generation, the inclusion of new trends in the national space strategy, the encouragement of transdisciplinary dialogue and opening up to the Belgian regions and communities while keeping the federal core. After five and a half years the number of participants of events has grown from 164 in 2013 to 339 in 2017. Social media have become more and more important, which is reflected in the number of followers on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Based on an analysis of the audience of a typical Space Dinner, beSPACE reaches its target audience of students, academics, professionals and other space enthusiasts. The lessons learnt are that more varied events increase visibility and attract a larger audience, that a clear sponsorship strategy attracts more sponsors and that social media are critical to communicate with members and other space enthusiasts. beSPACE now aims to organise its 7th Space Dinner, consolidate its digital identity, empower its members and keep growing its membership through the organisation of events where communication between space enthusiasts in Belgium is encouraged.