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Polish space cluster – a step towards the Earth Observation Satellite System

  • Today, representatives of the local government of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, Polish telecommunications operator EXATEL, Rzeszów University of Technology and the State Higher School of Technology and Economics in Jarosław signed a letter of intent on the establishment of a space cluster. The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of State Assets.
  • The main objective of the project is to develop national competence in space technologies and satellite techniques with the involvement of the commercial and scientific sectors.
  • The first task of the letter’s stakeholders is to collaborate in the preparation, as a part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, of an application for the creation of an Earth Observation Satellite System. It will be established in cooperation with the Ministry of National Defence, which shall also be one of the beneficiaries of the developed technologies. The project will result in the launch of the first Polish observation satellite constellation.

 

Since the last decade of the 20th century, the global space market has been expanding rapidly. The technologies required for an active presence in space are becoming cheaper and more accessible. Despite this, Poland – unlike most comparable countries – still does not have its own complex and advanced satellite constellation. The planned space cluster will create conditions for integration of space capabilities of Polish companies in order to act jointly and satisfy the country’s needs with regard to satellites.

Polish observation satellite constellation closer at hand

The letter of intent signed by the Marshall’s Office of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship, EXATEL, Rzeszów University of Technology and the State Higher School of Technology and Economics in Jarosław is the first step towards the design of the observation satellite constellation. It sets out a framework for cooperation in setting up and managing a space cluster in the Podkarpackie Voivodeship and supporting the development of an Earth Observation Satellite System.

“This is an extremely important initiative that should strengthen the economy’s growth potential in the area of space technologies and satellite techniques, and promote the use of satellite technologies to support environment- and climate-friendly systems. Please note that Podkarpackie Voivodeship is the only region in Poland which has chosen Aviation and Astronautics as a leading specialisation in its Regional Innovation Strategy. Aviation as a branch of economy has been present in the region for nearly 100 years now, and astronautics developed naturally due to the connection with the aviation industry – it is just a step into the future. In this area, our region is looking for opportunities to develop and strengthen its natural competitive advantages,” said Władysław Ortyl, Marshall of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship.

The Ministry of State Assets also recognizes the need for development within the area of satellite solutions and supports them.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of stable and secure communications and high quality data, both for the public and business sector and for common users. Therefore, the creation of the Earth Observation Satellite System is part of the Polish raison d’état. Taking microsatellites into space will also be useful for our military. I am glad that EXATEL – a company under the auspices of the Ministry of State Assets, a proven provider of telecommunications and ICT services as well as a developer of cybersecurity solutions – has become involved in the project. At the Ministry of State Assets we strongly support initiatives to develop Polish competence in these areas,” said Maciej Małecki, Secretary of State at the Ministry of State Assets.

Signing of the letter of intent is also the next step in the strategy announced by EXATEL in 2020. It assumes strong development of the Polish telecom operator’s competence in satellite communications.

“We have been providing satellite communication services to public institutions for several years. We perceive a great and constantly growing potential in this market. That is why late last year we reported on the construction of a satellite hub with mission control function, thanks to which we will be able to tap into the potential of the solutions created within the space cluster. As a result, our services will be available not only to the commercial sector, but also to the public administration or the military,” said Rafał Magryś, Vice-President of EXATEL’s Management Board.

Combining business and science

The strength of the Polish space cluster lies in using the scientific and research potential of Polish science. Therefore, the entities signing the letter of intent included two scientific units – Rzeszów University of Technology and State Higher School of Technology and Economics in Jarosław.

Zdjęcie sygnatariuszy listu intencyjnego klastra kosmicznego
Signatories and special guests of the ceremony of signing the letter of intent on the Polish space cluster.

 

The cluster will actively utilize the knowledge of European organizations such as NEREUS (Network of European Regions Using Space Technologies), ESA Business Incubation Centres, EURISY, EARSC, SME4Space or EUROSPACE.

Further actions

The first task of the letter’s stakeholders is to collaborate in the preparation, as a part of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, of an application for the creation of an Earth Observation Satellite System. As of the date of signing the letter of intent, the parties will collaborate to create a space cluster as soon as possible.