28.01.2019 change 28.01.2019

Brona: Poland is building infrastructure to store all EU`s satellite data

Polish companies have a significant share in the EU market for processing and sharing satellite data; we are also beginning to count when it comes to their storage, says the head of POLSA, Dr. Grzegorz Brona. For example, infrastructure to store all EU`s satellite data is being built in Warsaw.

"The sector of using satellite data, both observational and navigational, is really huge" - says the President of the Polish Space Agency. He points out that the current value of the global space industry is estimated at approx. EUR 300 billion.

"The sector related to the use of satellite data, their transmission and use in various areas of the economy accounts for 50-60 percent of this sum" - emphasises Brona. He adds that we are talking about hundreds of billions of euros invested in this area annually.

He notes that Polish companies are very actively involved in the use of satellite data. "Usually these are systems that process these data, provide them, but recently we also entered the sector related to satellite data storage" - he emphasises.

According to Brona, the infrastructure for storing satellite data of the European Union is currently being developed in Warsaw and Kraków. "When we use satellite data, it is worth remembering that they have passed not only through servers or computers located in Brussels or in the capitals of other countries of the so-called old European Union, but also, to a large extent, in Warsaw or Kraków" - he notes.

The President of POLSA emphasises that Poland is also actively trying to join the EU Galileo program. "In Poland, there are several start-ups that use satellite navigation data and propose new services for business or private users. There are also annual competitions for start-ups that want to operate in this area" - he says. He adds that Poland is among the countries that organize such events.

Brona reminds that the EU has its own space program. "This program will grow in the coming years. In the next financial perspective, its value will reach approx. EUR 17 billion" - he says. He notes that negotiations are still underway to increase this budget even further. "This is an all-time record when it comes to EU`s interest in space affairs" - he says.

Asked about the foundations of the EU`s space program, Brona says: "The European Union focuses on two main pillars, one of them is the Copernicus program associated with Earth imaging, that is, providing accurate satellite images in various spectra of imaging: from visible light to radar spectrum" - he explains.

The second pillar concerns the aforementioned Galileo project (undertakings related to satellite navigation). Brona reminds that in the US, the GPS project created the 1990s provides measurement accuracy of 10 m; in the case of Galileo it is supposed to reach 1 m.

"The European Union has improved the American result, the data from the Galileo system allow to propose more services operating here on Earth, based on navigation. It is clear that the EU is very serious about the program, building these two pillars" - he believes. He also draws attention to additional elements of the program. "One of them will certainly be a project related to securing the space infrastructure, called Space Situational Awareness - observing space debris threatening the EU infrastructure" - he says.

Brona reminds that since late 2018, Poland is a member of the international EU consortium that is building such a system. "We were the sixth country to join this consortium" - he says. He notes that this undertaking will consume from half a billion to a billion euros in the new EU financial perspective. "The European Union is also thinking about its own means of launching and about supporting the capability to deliver satellites into orbit" - he explains.

Referring to the participation of EU countries in the satellite data market, Brona points out that in this respect the EU cooperates with the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). "This organization provides data related to forecasting weather and climate changes and broader meteorological predictions" - he says. He adds that Poland is also a member of EUMETSAT.

"This organization currently has access to its own satellites. Interestingly, some of them are built in our country, by Polish companies" - he emphasises.

Some of these satellites are already in orbit, more will be sent after 2020. "At that point, Europe will gain complete independence with regard to both short- and long-term weather forecasts. The Polish Space Agency is making efforts to increase the share of Polish companies in EUMETSAT programs" - concludes Brona.

PAP - Science in Poland, Magdalena Jarco

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