Poland unveils new space strategy, eyes space spending hike

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WARSAW, Poland — The Polish government has unveiled the country’s first space strategy, indicating the increased emphasis which is to be placed on developing Poland’s space efforts and industry by the current cabinet.

The document recognizes that currently, Poland allocates a minor share of its annual gross domestic product (GDP) to the space sector, at 0.01 percent, compared with Germany’s 0.05 percent or France’s 0.1 percent. However, the strategy vows to lead to an increase in spending, as the country’s “space industry is one of the sectors which allow to re-focus the Polish economy to a larger extent to knowledge, innovation and technological development, away from low manufacturing costs.”

Space projects on the rise

The strategy sets the goal of building Poland’s first satellite. What is noteworthy, the document also recognizes that Poland exceeds all the Scandinavian countries and Eastern European members of the European Union regarding the amount of space-related research and development (R&D) projects that are financed by funds from the European Commission, with 108 such projects.

The document was drafted by the Polish Ministry of Economic Development as part of the ministry’s Plan for Responsible Development which aims to enable a shift in the country’s economy. Under the strategy, Poland is to transform itself from one of Europe’s top locations for outsourcing activities and assembly plants to a regional technology hub driven by innovation and high-skilled specialists.

Monika Ociepka, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Development, told Space News that the main aim of the government’s strategy is to develop a new model for the Polish economy that would rely on new technologies.

“One of the industries which currently is not very developed in Poland but could significantly contribute to achieving this aim is the space sector,” Ociepka said.

International cooperation

According to the spokesperson, Polish space industry players are active in the tenders held by the European Space Agency, and local companies have shown increased interest in establishing partnerships with entities from other EU member states to jointly offer their equipment and services to the agency.

“We should aim to establish such cooperation with the leaders of Europe’s space industry, such as France, Germany, Italy and the U.K., but also other countries for whom Poland, with its economic potential, could be an equal partner, such as Spain and the Scandinavian countries,” Ociepka said. Poland could also tighten its space ties with those “countries whose potential complements Poland’s capacities, such as Luxembourg and Ukraine, or whose experiences and requirements are similar to ours, such as Romania and the Czech Republic.”

The spokesperson also pointed that Poland’s first scientific research satellites, developed under the Lew and Hevelius projects, were made as part of the BRITE project which was jointly carried out by space institutions from Austria, Canada and Poland.

“We cannot limit our bilateral [space] cooperation to European countries, but, for obvious reasons, such contacts should be mostly developed in Europe,” Ociepka said.