21.03.2016 change 21.03.2016

Polish space program should be ready by mid-year

Source: Fotolia Source: Fotolia

Polish space program, or at least its foundations, should be prepared by mid-year, told PAP Prof. Marek Banaszkiewicz, head of the Polish Space Agency. Key consultations on a European space strategy begin in autumn.

In December this year in Lucerne the meeting will be held of the most important decision-making body of the European Space Agency (ESA), the Ministerial Council. It will set priority directions for the future development of European space programs. The Ministry of Development will send Polish representative to the meeting.

According to Banaszkiewicz, who attended the Space Sector Forum on March 9, the ESA recommended that members prepare national programs by the middle of this year, precisely in connection with the meeting of the Ministerial Council.

"If we do not have a strategy by then, we will not be able to present our position on the European forum. But the negotiation process of reaching final agreements begins earlier. These six months (before the meeting of the Ministerial Council in late 2016 - PAP) is the period, in which negotiations take place. The later will present our strategy, the more difficult it will be for us to negotiate, because some of the fields will already have been reserved" - pointed out Banaszkiewicz.

The Department of Innovation of the Ministry of Development is responsible for the preparation of the Polish program. Deputy Minister of Development Adam Hamryszczak, who also attended the Space Sector Forum, would not tell PAP when the work on the Polish strategy would be completed, or at what stage it currently is. He only stated that such work continues.

During his speech at the Forum, Hamryszczak assured the space industry representatives that Poland will be active in the European consultations and wants to reach a common position on this issue. Also he invited the industry representatives to a dialogue at the Ministry of Development on the development of the space sector.

According to Banaszkiewicz, if Poland is unable to prepare a comprehensive strategy on time, it would be best to submit its foundations to the ESA by mid-year EAS, and later only add details.

The development of the space sector is a task for which the competencies of the Ministry of Development, Ministry of Science and Ministry of Defence intersect. Working with ESA is also the task of the Polish Space Agency, reporting to the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, which was established in 2014 in order to support the Polish space industry by bridging the worlds of business and science and providing support to domestic enterprises in raising funds from the ESA.

Established in 1975, the European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organization established for the implementation of a common European program of research and use of outer space. Its tasks also include supporting the development of modern and competitive industry in the Member States. Poland joined the ESA in November 2012. The Agency has two types of programs: compulsory programs financed by contributions from Member States, whose size is proportional to the national income of each country. These programs include, among others, space exploration and the construction and use of associated equipment.

In addition, ESA conducts key economic optional programs, financed only by countries participating in them; the share of each country is negotiated separately for each program. Their range is not specified in detail. These programs include the construction of an European rocket, manned flights, robotics and programs for utility applications of space technologies (telecommunications, Earth observation, navigation) and the Space Situational Awareness (SSA).

ESA\'s budget in 2016 amounts to 5.25 billion euros.

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