EU Space Regulation ready to take off

 

Today, the Commission welcomes the adoption of Space Regulation by the co-legislators, confirming the political agreement on the Space Regulation reached in December 2020. The Space Programme, with the largest budget ever for Space, €14.88 billion, encompasses all EU space activities in one single Space Programme Regulation.

The Space Programme will ensure the continuity and evolution of the three existing flagship programmes Galileo, Copernicus and EGNOS. It will also support new initiatives on space surveillance (SSA), including Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST), Space Weather and Near Earth Object (NEO), and satellite communications (GOVSATCOM). The Space Programme will contribute to the green and digital transformations of Union’s economy, as well as to its resilience.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for A Europe Fit for the Digital Age, said: “Space technology is essential for our everyday life and security. This is equally important for all of us. The Space Regulation Europe will enable modernisation of our flagship programmes and access to develop new European space activities. Together, we can accelerate and transform our space policy”.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, said: “Europe has all it takes to be a global space leader. It has talents. It has industrial capacity. It has technological leadership. It has the experience of ambitious space missions and programmes. But there is not time to lose. The space sector is under massive transformation. The global race is on. If we want Europe to maintain its position as global space power, we need to act now. And the Space Regulation will support an ambitious space strategy for Europe”.

Main components
The EU Space Programme Regulation will enable the modernisation of EU flagship programmes – Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus –, ensure EU autonomous access to space and accelerate the development of New Space in Europe. It will provide the backbone for supporting the space industry and will foster Europe’s space technological leadership and resilience, in order to be able to compete in the global race. It will also help the industrial ecosystem recover from the crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, it will finance programmes that will make a stronger and more prosperous Europe in the years and decades to come for the EU citizens and businesses.

With this new Regulation, the EU will promote the downstream applications/technologies, users and market uptake and the exploitation of the huge potential of space data and services to develop value-adding applications and services. Moreover, the space data and services provided under the EU Space Programme will support the green and digital transitions, which are a cornerstone for the European recovery.

The Space Programme further promotes the entrepreneurship in the European space ecosystem and its competitiveness. The €1 billion Space Investment Fund, CASSINI, will boost start-ups and disruptive innovation. It will contribute to make Europe a hub of space entrepreneurship in the world.

Governance

The EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) replaces and expands the European Agency for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GSA). It will be the entity in charge of exploitation of EGNSS and, in doing so, will guarantee the continuity of services for EGNSS, security and the accreditation of the systems and ensure the market uptake for all components of the Space Programme.

In line with the Regulation, the governance will be streamlined with clear tasks of the various actors, namely the Commission (the programme management), EUSPA (the exploitation of Galileo/EGNOS, security and development of downstream applications for all components of the Space Programme) and the European Space Agency (ESA) (research and development).

Future challenges
The new EU Space Programme will give the EU the framework to act on EU priorities. In order to keep the global leadership, Europe needs to accelerate the transformation process of the EU space policy, to address future challenges and to reduce dependencies in strategic sectors. This is why the Commission has proposed two new flagship initiatives, the space-based secure connectivity initiative and space traffic management. In addition, the EU needs to explore new and competitive solutions for access to space.

 

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