New Spanish Space Agency Established

 New Spanish Space Agency Established

The Council of Ministers has approved this Tuesday the Royal Decree approving the statute of the Spanish Space Agency, a public body attached to the Ministries of Science and Innovation and Defense.

The Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, stressed that the Spanish Space Agency (Agencia Espacial Española – AEE) is a national project and a firm commitment of the Spanish Government to a key sector that generates opportunities and quality employment. (source)

Budget of 700 million euro in 2023

Morant pointed out that the Agency will have an initial budget of more than 700 million euros this year and will incorporate 75 people with a highly qualified profile and a recognized professional career.

The Agency, based in Seville, will serve to guarantee Spain’s strategic action in the space field, both from the point of view of its technological development and the use of space in areas such as security, earth observation, geolocation and telecommunications.

Space is a priority for Spain

Space is a priority and strategic area, essential to help and protect our society in fields as diverse as cybersecurity, navigation, the fight against climate change or the monitoring of phenomena such as drought or fires.

The Minister stated that with the creation of the Spanish Space Agency, the Government is complying, in record time, with the new Law on Science, Technology and Innovation, which authorized the creation of this entity within one year of the approval of its reform.

While the AEE was given a one-year deadline since its official creation in September to kick off, it already started operating last month. “We’re six months ahead of schedule,” Morant said.

It also complies with the National Security Strategy, with the Strategic Project for Aerospace Recovery and Economic Transformation (PERTE) and with the Spanish Government’s plan for the decentralization of entities of the General State Administration.

The Presidency of the Spanish Space Agency will be assumed by the head of the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Within the Governing Council, the Control Commission and the Permanent Commission will be constituted. The Governing Council will be composed of the person holding the Presidency of the Agency and eleven persons, one of them representing the Ministry of Science and Innovation, with a rank of at least Director General.

The main office of the Spanish Space Agency AEE will be in Seville (image: Wikimedia/AEE, by Groundstation.Space)

Strategic Project for Aerospace Recovery and Economic Transformation (PERTE)

Morant also reported on the development of the Aerospace PERTE and detailed that the Government has increased its budget from the initial 2,100 million euros of public investment to 2,315 million. In addition, it is foreseen that the budget for this project will increase by another 300 million euros with the contribution of the addendum to the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan.

The Minister pointed out that PERTE is going at a very good pace and 82% of its resources have already been mobilized, which is having its first results and success stories in our country.

New Spanish ESA Astronauts

In this sense, she pointed out that a clear example of the new positioning of Spain in Europe in the field of space is the selection of two new Spanish astronauts in the European Space Agency (ESA): Pablo Álvarez and Sara García.

Newly selected Spanish astronauts Pablo Álvarez and Sara García at the introduction in Paris in 2022 (image: ESA)

Among other examples, Morant recalled that the Ministry of Science and Innovation has launched a call for the development of a small satellite launcher worth 45 million euros. “With the development of this technology, Spain would be the first European country to have a microsatellite launcher, which are the commercial future of the space sector,” said the minister.

ARRAKIHS Mission led by Spain

In addition, thanks to the Spanish Government’s commitment to the space sector, the space sector is being strengthened with the strength of Spanish companies in this sector and their recognition worldwide, and our country is leading the international ARRAKIHS mission, with a budget of 200 million euros.

The ARRAKIHS mission is coordinated by the Institute of Physics of Cantabria (IFCA), a joint centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the University of Cantabria (UC). Its main objective is to study dark matter in the universe that, according to different cosmological observables, could be up to five times more abundant than ordinary matter. Due to its properties, its direct detection is very complex and, for now, we are only aware of its existence through its gravitational effects.

It is these effects on satellites orbiting in the halo of galaxies like our Milky Way that ARRAKIHS will be able to discover and characterise in order to reveal the nature of dark matter.

The Minister for Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, stated that knowing about dark matter will allow us to better understand our Universe and thus understand its origin.

Spanish Prime Minister visits PLD Space launch pad in Huelva

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez underlined the Government’s commitment to “put Spain at the forefront of the aerospace transport industry”, during his visit to the facilities of the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), in Mazagón (Huelva), where PLD Space is getting ready for the first test launch of the ‘Miura’ micro launcher.

Sánchez highlighted the strategic nature of the aerospace sector for the productive and industrial transformation of our country, and the Government’s objective of making it “a true State policy”.

The head of the Executive, accompanied by the Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, participated in the presentation of the launch base of the company PLD Space, at the Center for Experimentation of Aerospace Vehicles and Atmospheric Research of El Arenosillo (CEDEA) of INTA.

Spanish aerospace sector is ‘powerful and competitive’

In his speech, Sánchez highlighted that today the Spanish aerospace industry is a “powerful and competitive” industry, with a total economic impact that exceeded 13,000 million euros in 2020 – 1.2% of Spanish GDP and 5.4% of industrial GDP -, capable of translating into 155,000 direct and indirect jobs, many of them highly specialized. He also pointed out that investment in R&D in Spain has already reached 1,500 million euros.

Among the initiatives launched by the Government in this sector, he referred to the Aerospace PERTE that will mobilize more than 4,500 million euros until 2025, to respond to key challenges of the sector such as environmental control, quantum communications and security in international cooperation, in addition to “contributing to our positioning on the European map”, he stressed.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the PLD Launch site in Huelva this week (image: Spanish Ministry of Science)

The Prime Minister also highlighted the creation of the Spanish Space Agency -located in Seville as part of the process of territorial distribution of State institutions launched by the Government. “A historical claim of the Spanish aerospace sector, to which the Executive has finally given an answer”, essential to provide continuity to scientific and industrial projects, to have a high representation before international organizations, and to develop a real national policy in space matters.

Remco Timmermans

Related post