ESA Prioritises Boosting Commercialisation of Space

 ESA Prioritises Boosting Commercialisation of Space

In a speech at the World Space Business Week (WSBW), held in Paris from 12 to 16 September 2022, the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) Josef Aschbacher showed full support for further commercialisation of the European space sector.

Here is the transcript of his speech, as published on his personal Twitter account earlier today:

Three Key Focus Points for ESA

Dr. Aschbacher started his speech with three key focus points:

  1. “Europe must benefit from a vibrant commercial space sector to serve its own societal & economic needs.
  2. ESA has a mandate to increase the competitiveness of European industry (not just space industry!).
  3. #Agenda2025 prioritises boosting commercialisation

Space Industry Recovered from COVID

Signs the space industry has recovered post-Covid are encouraging: novel technologies, increased space actors & activities, increased investment in space (globally and in Europe) with public authorities remaining the main investors, new funding mechanisms (eg venture capital).

Priorities for the ESA Ministerial Council 2022

The context around us has shifted in ways that we could not anticipate this time last year, presenting both challenges and new opportunities. All this while we are approaching the Ministerial Council of 2022, an unprecedented shot for Europe to step-up its space activities and live up to its ambition.

Thus, I will present an ambitious proposal addressing various topics to Member States for an envelope of 18.7B€ focusing largely on: climate and sustainability, including space debris removal, and commercialisation: 2 B€ in support of new growth markets.

Role of Private Investors

At the same time, private investors are showing increasing interest in our industry with 15.4 B$ in global private space investment in 2021 (up 95% from 2020) and €611 M€ investment in European space start-ups (excluding OneWeb).

But the VC environment evident in the US is not present in Europe, leading to a haemorrhage of talent from Europe. It is essential that Europe continues to invest in its space sector through private investors and VC/Equity Funds, but also institutions such as the European Investment Fund.

This will enable high profile space jobs to form and to remain in Europe, bringing competitiveness, innovation and dynamism to the European space sector and society worldwide.

Private Sector must be the Driver

Thus is the strong case for strengthened collaboration between commercial and institutional players, and for a coordinated push for infrastructures/capabilities improving our resilience on Earth & in space as the two are inextricably linked. The private sector must be the driver.

But ESA is willing to play its part: In fact we have already signed 17 Collaboration Agreements with VC funds and Private Equity funds this year, and we are setting up the Terms of Reference of the “Investor Network”, aiming at easier funding access.

It was a pleasure to attend #WSBW, where all levels of the satellite value chain are present, and discuss my vision and ideas. I wish you all an ambitious and successful week.” /end

Funding Opportunities with Groundstation.Space

Of course funding opportunities for space organisations already exist. You can find relevant open funding calls in Horizon Europe, the European Space Agency and other relevant funds in our Open Calls database.

Remco Timmermans

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