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.

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What Will Brexit Do to UK’s Space Program?

UK_space_agencyIt looks like the United Kingdom is leaving the European Union (EU). If Parliament agrees. And the next Prime Minister — who won’t take office until October — respects the vote of  the people last week. And the UK doesn’t have another vote that reverses the decision.

Of course, not all of the United Kingdom might leave. Scotland is talking about having another vote on independence and applying to join the EU as a separate nation. And there is also a movement to united Northern Ireland with Ireland, which is an EU member and does not seem inclined to leave anytime soon.

The departure — which will take at least two years — will not affect the UK’s membership in the European Space Agency (ESA), which is separate from the EU. An independent Scotland would have to join both the EU and ESA. It’s not clear how complex those processes would be at this time.

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