Sunday, 26 May 2024
The spokespersons who took part of this issue of the ProEspacio Magazine were Pedro Navarro, PP deputy for Zaragoza, GPP spokesman for Science and Innovation of the Congress of Deputies; and Javier Cendón, Science spokesman of the Socialist Party in the Congress of Deputies. This time around, Podemos and Vox did not respond to our invitation.
We find ourselves in a key moment when it comes to fostering the space industry, both nationally and internationally, with a special focus on the development of the Spanish Space Agency. The space sector is experiencing an exciting moment with high-potential, long-term programs, and this is why we must seize this opportunity to benefit our industry and have a leading role as a country.
As a result, the plans of any future government are essential to our industry and will serve as the compass that steers its development.
In light of the elections being moved forward to next Sunday, July 23, at TEDAE we have interviewed the main political parties of Spain who, in the following pages, lay out their plans for the space sector in Spain during the next four years”
Pedro Navarro, PP Deputy for Zaragoza GPP spokesman for Science and Innovation Congress of Deputies
What will your party’s position be in relation to the advancement of space activities in Spain? Are you considering proposals to foster the consolidation of the National Industry and guarantee the technological sovereignty and competitiveness of Europe?
As per the Aerospace Security Strategy roadmap and considering the degree of development of our corporate and government structure, the advancement of space activities should focus, in addition to strictly the creation of a regulatory framework that facilitates the inclusion of the private sector through public-private partnership processes with sights on a national regulation; in other words, unique, as its nature requires. This statement, which may seem obvious, is a reference to the attempts to create a regulation and/ or agency that is particular to a specific Autonomous Community, which is pointless. 
Does your party consider space as a strategic sector and that the investments in that sector are beneficial to society?
As an R&D intensive sector that leads to a high degree of technology transfer to other sectors, it is a strategic sector for our economy, to which we must add that its jobs are of high quality, with a level of university graduates that exceeds 90%. The aeronautical sector, in addition, exports 53%, and space over 65%.
Will you continue with spain’s commitment of increasing its esa contribution until it reaches the level that corresponds to our gdp?
As a prerequisite, we believe it is fundamental to audit the Aerospace PERTE (Spain’s Strategic Projects for Economic Recovery and Transformation). It is essential for transparency criteria to be applied to its management, especially in light of the criticism brought forward in November of 2021 by the report on the sector’s multi-national corporations which literally stated that there exists a “lack of coordination and leadership among public institutions in the management of European funds.”
We must help strengthen what is already a strong industrial capacity in the Spanish sector as one of the main private suppliers of ESA, with the goal of fostering private investment.
What will be the commitment of your party with the spanish space agency to generate high level national programs?
After what has been a senseless process of disputes between the different territories to choose its headquarters, the first efforts must focus on brining it online, overcoming the hurdles that the personnel selection processes are facing.

In such a highly technological and specialized sector, it is necessary to optimize the public resources and the availability of public resources to the private sector. If we share the strategic goal when it comes to the economic development and business opportunities that it implies, and we do so with an outlook of national security, it is the only possible approach.

Will you build international collaborations, with a budget for bilateral programs to work with other space agencies such as NASA?

First and foremost, it is essential to develop the national capabilities for space surveillance and tracking (SST), already partially implemented through the publication of the Covenant between the Ministry of Defense, the Secretariat General of Industry and Small and Medium Businesses and the CDTI, to coordinate the space surveillance and tracking activities (BOE 216 of September 8, 2017). In any case, the objective given our country’s structure should be to collaborate with other agencies through ESA.

Javier Cendón, PSOE Science and Innovation Spokesman, Congress of Deputies
What will your party’s position be in relation to the advancement of space activities in Spain? Are you considering proposals to foster the consolidation of the National Industry and guarantee the technological sovereignty and competitiveness of Europe?
At PSOE we have a firm commitment to science and innovation in our country, as proven throughout these years in the administration, with a budget allocation to science and innovation that is unprecedented in the history of Spain.
And also, to the space sector and all the activities that are part of the value chain of a sector that is strategic for our country, with great potential for our economy and our society. One example of our clear commitment was the modernization of the Law of Science, Innovation and Technology, where we introduced something that has been asked for years: the creation of the Spanish Space Agency.
The Space Agency project is underway and this commitment of the Spanish Government with the sector is already showing results in terms of industrial framework and employment. For example, we used to have the capacity to complete the cycle of design and manufacture of an aircraft, but we were still unable to complete the cycle of satellites, which is why among the challenges of the Aerospace PERTE, the development of a launch vehicle was included. Right now we are already in the project design phase with two major Spanish companies as part of this first stage. Once the project is completed, we would become the first European country to have our own technology to perform a launch.
Because of this, for this next term, at PSOE we have great challenges that we need to face:
First, continuing the fulfillment and execution of the Aerospace PERTE, which seeks to turn our country’s aerospace industry into a key player in the face of the new challenges and opportunities that come with the great transformations planned for the sector, where space is one of its main pillars.
Second, enacting a Law of Space, which will perform operations and develop applications in the celestial domain that will have an effect on the wellbeing and autonomy of our society. With this new framework we would position our country in an even more favorable place for advancing the space industry and attracting foreign investment.
President of Government Pedro Sánchez has embraced this sector as a true national project, stating the importance of addressing its needs with sights on positioning Spain as a European power within the space sector.
Does your party consider space as a strategic sector and that the investments in that sector are beneficial to society?
The aerospace sector has an impact on our lives every day. Every one of us use some 200 satellites each day through GPS, radio, television, weather apps, etc. The aerospace sector provides us with information about the things that are taking place on Earth so that we make decisions and save lives, as was the case with the La Palma volcano eruption.
It also helps us prevent fires and fight the consequences of climate change. It helps us be a better and more prepared Spain.
The Spanish Space Agency will also have the goal of bringing space closer to the citizenry. Because of this, it will have a Space and Society Office dedicated to fostering the work interests of young people, especially women. We want to convey to the citizens the impact space has on our day to day.
Will you continue with spain’s commitment of increasing its esa contribution until it reaches the level that corresponds to our gdp?

In this regard, we must highlight the magnificent collaboration our country has engaged in with ESA during the last few years, since PSOE took office. After the 2019 ESA Ministerial Council, we committed to allocate 1.5 billion euros during five years. We have increased our contribution to the agency by 20% in the 2023 General Budget, up to 300 million euros. 

Hemos aumentado nuestra contribución a la Agencia un 20% en los Presupuestos Generales para 2023, hasta los 300 millones de euros. Y, por tanto, desde 2019 la hemos incrementado un 50%, situándonos como el cuarto país en la Unión Europea en contribución a la Agencia.
This means that, since 2019, we have increased it by 50%, making us the fourth highest-contributing country of ESA in the European Union.
It is important to point out that this contribution includes a return coefficient that returns opportunities to our country and our industry. Thanks to this, we have succeeded in putting Spain in a leadership position in the ARRAKIHS program, with a budget of approximately 200 million euros the first ESA mission to be led by Spain. We have also managed to help our companies take part of major projects across the globe, as is the case of the GMV Spanish company, which has been awarded a navigation related Australian contract. And, after 30 years, we have two new Spanish astronauts in ESA: Sara and Pablo. All of this is thanks to our contribution to ESA.
What will be the commitment of your party with the spanish space agency to generate high level national programs?
The Spanish Space Agency is already up and running thanks to this government. For more than 20 years, this country pursued the goal of having a space agency, and had been unsuccessful until now. Creating a state agency usually takes years, and in this case, it has been a matter of months.
It is a milestone for our country to count with this Space Agency that, from Seville, will represent us before the rest of the world and contribute to generating a new sustainable prosperity in all regions of Spain.
The Ruling Council of the Spanish Space Agency is composed of representatives from several ministries. This broad interministerial composition of the Agency stems from the crosscutting nature of the activities and services we offer in the realm of space, which involve different fields such as security, defense, Earth observation, meteorology, geopositioning and communications.
The Agency will unify all of these space policies and effectively coordinate all of these services and activities in order to guarantee the strategic actions of the Government of Spain in the realm of space. The Spanish Space Agency will be responsible for managing a volume of projects equivalent to a budget of around 700 million euros per year.
At the Agency, we will execute important projects for the development of space technology, which is fundamental in the preservation and protection of the planet, defense, security and communications. This Agency will also act as a liaison with both the European Space Agency and the rest of the space agencies, such as NASA.
In addition, it will become a nexus for public-private partnerships, supporting the existing space sector and fostering the creation of new companies in the realm of space across the entire Spanish territory. With this, the government aims to make sure that not a single bit of talent in our country goes to waste, which will be managed by the agency.
We therefore aspire to continue on this path, without taking one step back in this shift of production model that has given such great results for our economy in today’s crisis context.
Will you build international collaborations, with a budget for bilateral programs to work with other space agencies such as NASA?
This is already happening right now. Last May, Spain joined the Artemis program of NASA and other agencies, such as the European Space Agency, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, to return to the moon and prepare for a future crewed trip to Mars. A few days ago we signed a MoU with Switzerland which, among other things, intends to foster collaboration in the space sector. Therefore, at PSOE we believe it is paramount to work closely with other international agencies in different space cooperation projects and focus on expanding the scientific and technological cooperation.
This is the reason why we are committed to having our own Spanish Space Agency that has a long-term vision and continues growing our importance in the international landscape, which is something that Spain is so far accomplishing.
Through the Presidency of the EU Council, multilateral collaboration in the space sector will be strengthened. In Seville, during Space Week from November 6 to 10, among other things, a top-level meeting will be held between the European Union and Ibero-American countries.
Its goal is to tighten the bonds between Ibero American and European regions as a strategic goal for the space sector, which surely will bring new bilateral projects to our country.
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