Poland's space aspirations. Goals by 2020 are still not achieved

Poland's space aspirations.  Goals by 2020 are still not achieved

The Polish Space Strategy, planned on a grand scale for the years 2017-2030, was intended to make Poland one of the leaders of the European space industry. However, as the latest report “Evaluation of the Polish Space Strategy” shows, the implementation of these ambitious assumptions is lagging. Of the 13 key indicators for 2020, only 6 were achieved by 2023.

The Polish Space Agency (POLSA) has published the “Evaluation of the Polish Space Strategy” for 2017-2030. From the document we learn that Poland is far behind in the space race. By the end of 2023, the goals set for 2020 have not yet been achieved. The main causes of neglect are insufficient financial commitment and lack of consistent implementation of long-term plans. These failures show that despite ambitious assumptions, the lack of appropriate support and management limited the effectiveness of activities to develop the Polish space sector.

The degree of implementation of the goals of the Polish Space Strategy

One of the main goals was Poland's significant presence in the European Space Agency (ESA) programs. The commitment to increase the contribution to 150%–200% of the mandatory contribution seemed like a powerful step forward. However, despite the increase in the contribution in 2023, Poland is still far behind the planned plans. This shows not only a lack of financial commitment, but also a lack of a strategic approach to investing in future technologies.

Neglects in this area include the lack of development and implementation of the National Space Program, which limits the possibilities of strategic development of the sector. As noted in the report, it is crucial to quickly implement the National Space Program and increase participation in ESA's optional programs. The report noted that increasing the contribution in optional programs for 2023-2025 to EUR 251 million will allow this indicator to be achieved in 2024.

The document is still in ministerial drawers

The National Space Program, which was supposed to be a key instrument supporting the development of the sector, has not yet been formally adopted by the Council of Ministers. Despite subsequent attempts and studies, this document is still stuck in ministerial drawers. Is this the result of bureaucratic inefficiency or perhaps a lack of priorities on the government agenda?

Another specific goal by 2020 assumes the development of satellite applications, which is to contribute to the construction of the digital economy. So far, a station for receiving satellite data from the Copernicus system and a satellite data repository have been created. POLSA conducted educational and promotional activities supporting the use of satellite data in public administration. However, here too there was negligence. The Galileo PRS service has not been launched in Poland. POLSA indicates that the development of the National Satellite Information System and the implementation of the Galileo PRS service should be continued.

Poland's space security

The next issue is the development of capabilities in the area of ​​state security and defense using space technologies and satellite techniques. A national Earth observation satellite system and a space situational awareness system were created. There were also negligences in this matter. Full availability of satellite communications and navigation systems services has not been ensured and, importantly, the development of missile technologies remains limited. POLSA emphasizes that activities related to ensuring the availability of satellite services should be strengthened and rocket technologies should be developed.

As for the goal “Creating favorable conditions for the development of the space sector in Poland”, there is no surprise here either. A draft law on the National Register of Space Objects has not been developed, and the level of private investment is insufficient. However, the ESA business incubator was established and information and promotional activities were carried out in this direction. Indications for the future implementation of the PSK include the adoption of legal solutions regulating the sector's activities and increasing the level of private investment.

Fear of wasting Poland's potential in space

In turn, the degree of implementation of the assumptions regarding “Building human resources for the needs of the Polish space sector” looks positive. New fields of higher education were created, internship and practice programs were developed, and competitions and student projects were supported. The participation of Polish staff in international organizations needs to be improved. POLSA emphasizes the need to continue the development of educational programs.

The Polish Space Strategy was designed to place Poland on the world space map as a strong and innovative player. However, indecisive action, failure to implement key projects and inadequate financing cast a shadow on these aspirations. The previous government left behind a mixture of unfinished projects and unfulfilled promises, which the new administration will have to urgently address so as not to waste Poland's potential in space.

Summary of general conclusions and recommendations, as well as analysis of PSK objectives and directions of intervention.

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