Friday, 19 April 2024
“The ESA has always been the cornerstone of the national space agency”
2022 Begun with the 14th installment of the now-traditional European Union space policy conference in Brussels, debating on important matters – which continued at the Toulouse Space Summit on February 16.
The European Union Secure Connectivity program took shape and gained political momentum during both gatherings. This is an ambitious program with an initial budget request of 6 billion euros. According to the Commission’s proposal for the 2023-27 period, the EU would source 2.4 billion euros from various budget items of the current financial framework, with the remaining budget being sourced from private investors or contributions by member states.
If approved, it would become the third major space program of the European Union, alongside Galileo and Copernicus. It is evident that it is of major importance for Spain and its industry to take an active role in it, which requires tangible actions and programs.
The creation of a spanish space agency will help manage our capabilities and establish a national policy that serves as a guide for both the public and the private sector"
The Aerospace PERTE will have been published by the time this magazine leaves the press. This PERTE, funded with European recovery funds, includes a series of space projects that should imply a significant boost for the sector. The priority, from the industrial standpoint, are major long-term projects that propel the national companies of the sector and allow them to strengthen and improve their position in the fields of communication, navigation, launch vehicles and Earth observation.
Other countries are seizing the opportunity offered by the European recovery funds, leveraging them via the execution of programs through a third-party agreement with ESA, and connecting those programs with long-term initiatives. This is clearly a model to be followed. Programs targeted by the PERTE must aim to maximize the profitability of long-term investments and foster a balanced development of the industry as a whole, both for well-established and young industries, and encompassing largecaps, mid-caps and small-caps.
This year we also expect to see the creation or at least the consolidation of a Spanish Space Agency model. The Bill to modify Law 14/2011 on Science, Technology and Innovation, currently pending approval by the parliament, authorizes the creation of the Spanish Space Agency as a government agency under the wing of the Ministries of Science and Innovation and the Ministry of Defense.
The creation of a Spanish space agency will help manage our capabilities and establish a national policy that serves as a guide for both the public and the private sector. In this way, the return on investments will be maximized, steering national efforts in the field of space, efficiently coordinating the various national organizations linked to the space sector, fostering opportunities for public and private collaboration, facilitating the dual use of space capabilities and strengthening the national space industry sector in a clear and cohesive manner.
Moreover, the Agency will unify the international collaboration and coordination, and represent Spain in the international space sector.
And in late 2022 we have the upcoming ESA Ministerial Council, where the Agency’s budget for the next few years will be allocated in the realms of science and space exploration, space security, Earth observation, telecommunications, navigation, space transportation and technology. The ESA has always been the cornerstone of the national space agency, being its main driver of technological development, training and consolidation across multiple domains.
ESA programs have been the mainstay of our companies’ development and their significant growth within the value chain, allowing us to create jobs and export to commercial, international markets. It is, therefore, a crucial undertaking where Spain must increase its stake at least up to a level that is in line with our GDP.
At the time, with an allocation of 250 million euros per year, Spain furnishes less than 5.5% of the total contributions by member states far less than we should. Substantially increasing that share in 2022 is a must. The future of the sector depends on it.

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