08.05.2017 change 08.05.2017

Emilewicz: Polish space sector has potential

Although the size of the Polish space sector is not impressive at first glance, it has potential, emphasized Deputy Minister of Development Jadwiga Emilewicz in an interview with PAP. She added that Poland already specialises in optoelectronics and material engineering.

"Although the size of the Polish space sector is not impressive at first glance, we have potential - the number of entities registered on the ESA tender portal (EMITS) has grown from just over 50 in 2012 (the year of Poland\'s accession to ESA) to over 360 in 2017. The big players from this sector also operate in Poland: Airbus Defense & Space, Thales Alenia Space, Sener" - emphasised Deputy Minister Emilewicz.

She noted that most of these companies carry out projects in response to the demands of the European Space Agency (ESA), taking part in competitions and tenders announced by the Agency. "Components, subassemblies, tools and instruments, which are part of space missions, are being developed and produced in Poland. Polish specialties include IT, automation and robotics, materials engineering and optoelectronics" - explained the Deputy Minister of Development.

Emilewicz also pointed out that since the government adopted the Polish Space Strategy (as part of the Strategy for Responsible Development), and the National Space Program is expected by the end of 2017, space expenditures have been increased. This applies in particular to our membership contribution to the European Space Agency in the part financing the so-called optional programs. "This increase is 25 percent, giving the space sector players the prospect of further development and thus increasing the competitiveness of their offer to work with potential partners".

Emilewicz said in an interview for PAP in February that the amount of € 45 million (up 25% compared to the previous subscription in 2012) is a direct investment in the development of the Polish space industry, as most of this money comes back to us in contracts. "9 million euros is a two-year extension of the Polish Industry Incentive Scheme in ESA, which means that the funds are dedicated directly for the Polish market. 100% of this amount of 9 million euros will return to our economy. Depending on the potential of Polish companies, we will be able to benefit from ESA contributions".

Emilewicz acknowledged that while the Polish space sector is developing very dynamically, it is still in its early stages of development. "According to studies conducted in recent years by the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development, the number of entities for which space activity is the only or significant type of activity is relatively small and does not exceed 100. For most of the companies active in this sector this is mostly a segment of their activity".

She added that the analyses of the situation of the space sector in countries that have had an unquestionable success in the development of this industry both in (e.g. France or Germany) and outside Europe (USA or China) show that success is possible under the condition of considerable investments, in the initial stage primarily public funds.

This is confirmed by the latest ESA report, according to which - as Emilewicz commented - the development of the space sector, especially in its innovative and implementing aspect, still depends on public funding. "This is due to the fact that research and development projects are generally subject to a higher level of risk and are implemented over a longer period of time, sometimes up to a dozen or even dozens of years, and commercialisation of research and development results in space technology requires achieving a sufficient level of "maturity" of the technology itself and of the target markets" - the Deputy Minister of Development assessed.

She concluded: "The development of satellite communications services is a good illustration of this. It was developed with public funds for military purposes. Currently, the communications infrastructure is being developed by commercial companies, and services are provided for both types of users (public and commercial) according to their needs". (PAP)

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