The Polish space sector consists of approximately 400 companies. Ambitious plans for the future

The Polish space sector consists of approximately 400 companies.  Ambitious plans for the future

Currently, the Polish space sector includes approximately 400 companies and institutions, over half of which regularly cooperate with the European Space Agency (ESA). The increase in the membership fee and the conclusion of new agreements with ESA last year will contribute to strengthening this cooperation in the coming years.

Thanks to this, Polish companies will receive a significant impetus for development, which will influence the innovativeness of the entire economy. Work is currently underway to revise key strategic documents for the sector, which will support the development of the industry and obtaining financing for new projects.

– We have increased our contribution to ESA, which stimulates the implementation of the Polish Space Strategy and the involvement of Polish economic entities in the broadly understood space sector. The number of these entities is constantly growing, and their projects are becoming more and more ambitious, says Waldemar Sługocki, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Development and Technology.

Poland joined ESA in 2012, which significantly accelerated the development of the national space sector. Polish entities participate in European space programs, and scientists gain new contacts, financial support and access to ESA infrastructure. Polish engineers and scientists took part in European space missions such as Cassini-Huygens, Rosetta and Solar Orbiter. Further missions are planned, including: Proba-3, Prospect, Exo Mars, Comet Interceptor and Athena. The equipment provided by Polish companies has been used in over 80 ESA and NASA space missions.

Last year, Poland increased the membership fee for 2023–2025 by EUR 295 million and signed agreements with ESA regarding further programs supporting the development of the sector. The new cooperation includes internships at ESA for Polish graduates, construction of observation satellites and new contracts for Polish companies. Polish astronauts are to take part in a mission to the International Space Station (ISS) scheduled for autumn 2024, during which they will carry out experiments prepared by Polish engineers and scientists. The Ministry of Development and Technology has allocated EUR 360 million for activities under ESA, of which over 90% of this amount will return to Polish companies and scientific institutions.

– Increasing the contribution results in the growing participation of Polish enterprises in ESA programs. They build consortiums, gain know-how and experience, which allows them to implement increasingly technologically advanced projects – adds Sługocki.

The Polish space sector, consisting mainly of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and institutes, employs approximately 15,000 people. people. Contracts won by Polish companies exceed EUR 140 million. They specialize in areas such as robotics, control, optics, communication systems for satellites, scientific sensors, and space and terrestrial software. Branches of key European space companies and enterprises from the ICT and aviation industries also operate in Poland.

– The space industry, previously often underestimated, is important due to the innovative potential and competitiveness of the Polish economy. It is also important for military security, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine. That is why we want to allocate more funds for it, not only in cooperation with ESA, but also through the activities of the Minister of Defense and the Minister of Science – emphasizes the Deputy Minister of Development and Technology.

The development of space technologies affects many areas of everyday life, such as security, satellite navigation and medicine, where technologies developed for space missions are used.

– Solutions used in the space sector are often adapted to other industries. The Polish Space Strategy promotes dual-use companies operating in both the civil and defense sectors, says Sługocki.

The Polish Space Strategy of 2017 sets strategic directions for the sector's development and support tools. It is currently under revision, just like the National Space Program. This work is carried out by the Ministry of Development and Technology in cooperation with the Polish Space Agency and space sector entrepreneurs.

– We are open to cooperation because the framework for the functioning of the space sector must be dictated by the entrepreneurs who build it – emphasizes the Deputy Minister of Development and Technology.

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