The European Union launched a new space programme that’ll cover the period to 2027 and will see the bloc’s 27 member states deepen investments in satellite-navigation, Earth observation, space situational awareness and secure communications, among other activities.
It also establishes a new body called the EU Agency for the Space Programme.
EUSPA will have oversight of everything the European Union does as a bloc in orbit.
Another key advance in the new programme is the nature of the EU’s relationship with the European Space Agency (ESA).
EU funding during the coming period will help develop a next generation of Europe’s satellite-navigation system, Galileo, and extend the scope and capabilities of its Copernicus-Sentinel spacecraft, which monitor the state of the planet.
But in launching the new programme, Thierry Breton, commissioner for the internal market, stressed the need for Europe to become more agile.
“Space is going through massive transformation and rapid industrialisation, all around the world,” he said.
“For Europe to maintain its leadership, we must rethink the way we do space in Europe. We must adapt to fast developments and anticipate new ones.
“We must set an ambitious and disruptive space agenda for the future: Be more dynamic, more innovative, more risk-taking!”
The worry is that Europe is falling behind more fleet-of-foot entrepreneurs in the US, as well as the financial muscle that China is able to put behind its space programme.