Polish Space Agency eyes $420M program to develop satellites, space R&D

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WARSAW, Poland — The Polish Space Agency (POLSA) is currently consulting on its draft National Space Program under which it aims to spend close to 1.43 billion Polish zloty ($420 million) over an eight-year period. Senior agency officials say the program will allow them to team up Polish space industry players with foreign partners to develop two new satellites and acquire developed technologies.

Under the plan, the funds are to be allocated to support the development of an astronomical observation satellite, a SAR microsatellite, and a number of other R&D projects in Poland’s space sector, among others, according to the agency.

Col. Piotr Suszyński, vice president for defense at POLSA, tells SpaceNews that the satellite projects are to be carried out with a significant involvement of the Polish space industry. However, these efforts will be complemented by cooperation with foreign industry players.

“In POLSA’s opinion, the level of technological development of the solutions developed by the entities of the Polish space sector will allow [the sector] to implement a significant share of the UV satellite and SAR microsatellite projects in Poland,” Suszyński said. “The domestic companies and scientific and research institutions have developed full or partial competencies in the fields of, among others, electronics, mechanics, automation, robotics and steering theory, as well as ground and space software.”

Cooperation with foreign players

Suszyński says that cooperation with foreign partners will be indispensable in a number of areas.

“Among others, in the fields of optics and optoelectronics, additive technologies, power supply technologies, and electrically powered (spacecraft) propulsion,” Suszyński said. “We hope that such a collaboration will allow [Poland] to develop our domestic technology capacities, owing to which Polish entities will increase their competitiveness on the European market, for instance when applying for contracts from ESA.”

The Polish official said that the “satellite projects will be implemented under competitive procedures that have not been announced yet.”

Last December, the agency launched a public consultation on the draft document, allowing stakeholders to submit their opinions on the legislative proposal. The amounts that are to be allocated to the respective projects within the program have not been disclosed yet.

New bill to create space register

Meanwhile, the Polish government is also drafting a new bill on space activities and the National Register of Space Objects, to be overseen by POLSA.

Under the draft bill, POLSA will be responsible for issuing permissions to perform space activities, maintaining the register, and liaising with the United Nations regarding the registered space objects.

Work on the draft is piloted by the Ministry of Investment and Economic Development (formerly operating as the Ministry of Economic Development). On Feb. 14, in another phase of the legislative procedure, the ministry published a table comprising the remarks of other government entities.

POLSA is a government agency that was set up in 2014 and became fully operational in late 2015. According to its mission, the institution participates in fulfilling Poland’s strategic goals by supporting the use of satellite systems and the development of space technologies. To date, the agency has signed bilateral agreements with its counterparts in France, Italy, China, Mexico, Brazil and Ukraine.