Matt Atlas

New EU Space Agency Will Be Based In Prague

A new EU Space Program Agency (EUSPA) will be based in the Czech Republic from 2021. It will be created by extending the GSA, which manages the European satellite system Galileo in Prague. The agency will grow from the current 100 to around 700 people. Representatives of the Ministry of Transport announced this at a press conference today.

In addition to the development of the Galileo market and operations, the Czech Republic will thus manage the use of the Copernicus Earth Observation Satellite System, prepare the Govsatcom satellite telecommunications program, or concentrate EU capacities to monitor the Earth’s near surroundings. This year, the EU has proposed to increase its space program budget by 30 percent to EUR 16 billion, or more than Kc 410 billion, in the next seven-year budget period.

The government has recently approved CZK 1.205 billion annually on a proposal from the Ministry of Transport, which is 275 million more than previously.

Around 50 companies participate in the space program in the Czech Republic. Space production includes, for example, rolling solar panels for hundreds of 5M satellites from Kunovice, an adapter for launching dozens of small satellites from the Vega launcher, optical systems, a new air traffic control system over Europe, satellite control software or aluminum and titanium launcher parts Ariane 6. According to the Ministry of Transport’s analysis, the return on space investment in the economy is more than eight times higher.

Thanks to the ESA BIC business incubator, more than 20 other companies that use space technologies on Earth are developing them in the Czech Republic. In the three years of operation of the program, start-up companies have received private investments of CZK 210 million, while the costs of the ESA BIC project by 2021 are CZK 70 million. At the same time, these companies generate profits from selling their products on the market and therefore have additional benefits.