Q&A on European Union’s New Space Policy

European_Commission_LogoBRUSSELS, 26 October 2016 (EU PR) — EU space programmes already deliver services that benefit millions of people. The European space industry is strong and competitive, creating jobs and business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Today’s proposal for a new space policy will foster new services and promote Europe’s leadership in space.

1. Why a space strategy now?

The EU is developing three high quality space projects: Copernicus, a leading provider of Earth observation data across the globe; Galileo, Europe’s own global navigation satellite system (GNSS); and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), which provides precision navigation services to aviation, maritime and land-based users over most of Europe. A total of EUR 12 billion from the EU budget will be invested in these projects and in research over 2014-2020. Now that the infrastructure of EU space programmes is well advanced, the focus needs to shift to ensuring a strong market uptake of space data and services by the public and private sector. By generating more services which respond to people’s needs and new economic opportunities, every euro spent on EU space policy is a euro well spent. This is also in line with the Commission’s Budget for Results initiative.


ESA, EU Sign Joint Statement of Shared Visions and Goals

ESA logoBRUSSELS, 26 October 2016 (ESA PR) — A ‘Joint Statement on Shared Vision and Goals for the Future of European Space’ was signed by ESA Director General Jan Woerner and European Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska in Brussels today.

In the past two Space Councils, in an informal setting under the EU Council Presidency of Luxembourg and the Netherlands, the Member States of ESA and the EU have requested ESA and the EC together to come up with a set of joint visions and goals for the future of European space.


New EU Space Policy Focused on Improving Lives, Boosting Competitiveness

European_Commission_LogoBRUSSELS (EU PR) — EU space programmes already deliver services that benefit millions of people. The European space industry is strong and competitive, creating jobs and business opportunities for entrepreneurs. Today’s proposal for a new space policy will foster new services and promote Europe’s leadership in space.

Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič said: “The European Union is a key player in space policy. We want to build on that and use this leadership role strategically to create jobs and growth and deliver on our common policy priorities: security,climate change, transport, data economy, management of natural disasters. This requires cooperation with our partners and stakeholders in Europe and internationally. The Joint EU – ESA Declaration on our “Shared Vision and Goals for the Future of Europe in Space” to be signed this afternoon is another important step in that direction.”


Moraliss-Nerva Nano-satellite Launcher Development Project Commences

polytechnic_bucharestBUCHAREST (UPB PR) — Through the National Agency for Scientific Research (NASR), the Romanian government has commenced sponsorship of NERVA, a Romanian orbital nanosatellite launcher currently in development by a team of professors and students from University “Politehnica” of Bucharest and ADDA – The Association Dedicated to Development in Astronautics, through a new 3-year grant funded by the European Union.

Project co-founded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF 2014-2020) through the Competitiveness Operational Program.


European Commission Releases Space Strategy Roadmap


Title of the Initiative: A Space Strategy for Europe
Lead DG – Responsible Unit – AP Number: DG GROW – DIRECTORATES I & J – 2016/GROW/007
Date of Roadmap: 12/2015
Likely Type of Initiative: Communication from the Commission
Indicative Planning: tbd
Additional Information: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/sectors/space/index_en.htm

This indicative roadmap is provided for information purposes only and can be subject to change. It does not prejudge the final decision of the Commission on whether this initiative will be pursued or on its final content and structure.

Russians Doubt Reusable Boosters, Look to Phase Out Rockot Launches

Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)
Falcon 9 launch and landing. (Credit: SpaceX)

Russia doesn’t seem overly impressed by the recent progress by SpaceX and Blue Origin in developing reusable launch vehicles. At according to TsNIIMash, which is the company’s main research institute.

“The economic feasibility of reusable launch systems is not obvious. First and foremost it will depend on how often launches will be made. At the moment it is hard to forecast which way the market of launch services will go when reusable space rockets become available. The designers are still to demonstrate the real costs of production and of making reusable stages for re-launching,” a TsNIIMash spokesman said.


ESA Budget Gets 18 Percent Boost

ESA_budget_2016_node_full_imageBuoyed by major satellite and launch vehicle programs, the European Space Agency (ESA) has received an 18.44 percent increase in its budget for 2016.

The space agency’s budget rose from 4.43 billion euros in 2015 to 5.25 billion euros ($4.8 billion to $5.69 billion),  an increase of 817 million euros ($884.8 million).


Government Investment in Space to Top $80 Billion by 2024

Earth_from_OrbitNew growth cycle expected with 856 government satellites
planned for launch by end of decade

Paris, Washington D.C., Montreal, Yokohama, October 28, 2015 (Euroconsult PR) – According to Euroconsult’s newly released report, Government Space Programs: Strategic Outlook, Benchmarks & Forecasts, a new growth cycle in government space spending is expected to start and average 2.1% over the next ten years worldwide, reaching $81.4 billion by 2024.


EU Provides $77 Million for SABRE Engine R&D

Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)
Skylon with the SABRE engine. (Credit: Reaction Engines)

BRUSSELS, Belgium (EC PR) — The European Commission has found that a £50 million (around €71 million) grant that the UK authorities intend to provide for designing a SABRE space launcher engine is in line with EU state aid rules.


ESA Looks Toward Expansion, Deeper International Cooperation

Credit: ESA
Credit: ESA

The 20-member European Space Agency (ESA) is looking to rapidly add two more nations to its list of member states while deepening cooperation with five other European countries, according to a resolution approved by ESA ministers on Tuesday.

In addition, ESA is looking at “seizing future cooperation opportunities” offered by its three strategic partners — the United States, Russia and China — while improving cooperation with new emerging space powers outside of Europe.


Bulgaria to Sign Cooperation Agreement with European Space Agency

ESA logoThe Bulgarian Parliament has approved a draft Cooperation Agreement with the European Space Agency, according to news reports. The vote authorizes the Minister of Economy and Energy to sign the agreement, which will allow formal cooperation on space projects between Bulgaria and ESA.

A Cooperation Agreement is the first step in a multi-year process of becoming a full member of the space agency, which currently has 20 member nations plus Canada as an associate member. Other steps in the process include:

European Cooperating State (ECS) Agreement: The nation increases its financial contribution and becomes eligible to participate in agency procurements.  Under ECS, a country can participate in all ESA activities with the exception of the Basic Technology Research Programme.

Plan For European Cooperating State (PECS Charter): A  five-year program of basic research and development activities conducted in cooperation with ESA. The PEC Charter can be renewed.

Full Membership: Negotiations typically begin at the end of the five-year PECS Charter, unless that agreement is renewed.

Bulgaria deepens ESA’s ties with European Union (EU) countries. Of the 28 EU nations, only Croatia lacks some type of formal agreement with the space agency.

DLR Chairman: EU Takeover of ESA is “Dead Horse”

DLR Chairman Johann Dietrich Woener
DLR Chairman Johann Dietrich Woener

By Johann Dietrich Woerner
Chairman, DLR

Some time ago, in this blog, I wrote about a heated debate concerning a ‘cold potato’; back then, I discussed the relationship between the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Union (EU). Germany does not support the current efforts to integrate ESA into the EU. We consider an intergovernmental European Space Agency to be necessary for a sustainable way of working. Time has passed, and the ‘cold potato’ has become a ‘dead horse’. It has been clear for some time that this integration is not only illogical, but also unworkable.


The EU Seems to Really Dislike ESA’s New Launch Vehicle Policy

eu_flagBy Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

The European Union outlined elements of its proposed new space policy for the continent recently in a press release. The document describes a series of actions the Union feels are required to allow Europe to thrive in an increasingly competitive global market where it is significantly outspent by the United States.

The document, which is reproduced below, is quite dry, but I did spot one proposed action that appears to be the equivalent of throwing gasoline on the smouldering embers of a fire that everyone involved spent about a year putting out.

Establish and implement a real European launcher policy

EU autonomy in strategic sectors such as launch services is of fundamental importance. A real European launcher policy must be established by the institutional actors – as is the case in the other space-faring nations – to avoid short term or case by case decision taking.


ESA Faces the Limits of Expansion, Growing Power of EU

polish_flag_eu_flagBy Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

At the European Space Agency (ESA) ministerial meeting on Nov. 20-21 in Naples, there was a new flag flying outside. The red-and-white flag of Poland, which had joined space agency the day before, was raised among those of ESA’s other 19 member states.

Poland became the third — and wealthiest — former Eastern Bloc nation to join ESA behind the Czech Republic and Romania.  The nation’s ascendance brought the number of full ESA member states to 20 from the original 10 countries that created the space agency in 1975. Canada is an associate member.

Ten other European nations, nine of which have cooperative agreements with ESA, attended the quadrennial ministerial meeting as observers with hopes of eventually joining the space agency as full members. Behind them, there is another group of 10 countries — most of which are still emerging from the fall of communism two decades ago — that could one day join ESA.