In cooperation with Sean Kelly MEP, ISC will organise a breakfast briefing in the European Parliament, Brussels on Thursday, 6 December at 8.00am on the contribution of Ireland and other smaller nations to the future European Union Space Agency and Space Programme, following the publication of the European Commission's proposal for a regulation in June 2018..
Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of Europeans and for Europe to pursue its strategic interests. Thanks to major investments, the EU has a strong edge in space activities and the European space industry is one of the most competitive. However, there are many new challenges and actors across the world. The new EU Space Programme will invest more in space activities, adapting to new needs and technologies, while reinforcing Europe's autonomous access to space.
The Commission's proposal will bring all existing and new space activities under the umbrella of a single programme. The new space programme will maintain existing infrastructure and services and introduce a number of new features:
• Fostering a strong and innovative space industry: The new space programme will improve access for space start-ups to risk finance. At the same time, the Commission will explore the creation of a dedicated equity instrument through the InvestEU programme. The new space programme will create innovation partnerships to develop and purchase innovative products and services; facilitate access to testing and processing facilities for start-ups; and promote certification and standardisation. The programme will be rolled out together with Horizon Europe, ensuring collaboration between space-related research and innovation actions;
• Maintaining the EU's autonomous, reliable and cost-effective access to space: Europe's strategic autonomy is particularly important as regards critical infrastructure, technology, security and defence. Given that the EU is the largest institutional customer, the Commission will aggregate the EU demand of launch services, providing investment and supporting the use of innovative technology such as reusable launchers, and contribute to the adaptation of the necessary ground infrastructure.
• A unified and simplified systems of governance: The EU will ensure that the increase in financial investment is supported by efficient decision-making so that all EU space activities are rolled out on time and on budget. The Commission will continue to be responsible for managing the overall programme. The intergovernmental European Space Agency (ESA), given its unmatched expertise, will remain a major partner in the technical and operational implementation of the EU space programme. The European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, to be renamed the 'EU Agency for the Space Programme', will increasingly support the exploitation and market uptake of EU space activities and play an increased role in ensuring the security of all the components of the programme.
The Commission proposes to allocate the €16 billion budget for 2021-2027 as follows:
• €9.7 billion for Galileo and EGNOS, the EU's global and regional satellite navigation systems: This will fund continued investment in operations and infrastructure to complete and maintain the constellation, the development of an enhanced precision signal and support for the market uptake of the satellite navigation services to the benefit of autonomous and connected cars, the Internet of Things, smart phones and traffic management;
• €5.8 billion for Copernicus, the EU's Earth Observation programme: This will maintain the EU's autonomy and leadership in high-quality environmental monitoring, emergency management and support for border and maritime security. New Copernicus missions such as CO2 monitoring will enable the EU to become a technological leader in the fight against climate change, in line with the commitments made under the Paris Agreement. The Copernicus Data and Information Access Services (DIAS) will make it much easier for SMEs and start-ups to exploit Copernicus data and develop innovative applications;
• €500 million to develop new security components: The new space programme will enhance the performance and autonomy of Space and Situational Awareness (SSA), which helps avoid collisions in space and monitors the re-entry of space objects to Earth. It will also address space hazards linked to solar activities and asteroids or comets threatening critical infrastructures.A new Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM) initiative will provide Member States with reliable, secure and cost-effective access to secure satellite communications and support police border protection, diplomatic communities or civil protection and humanitarian interventions.