Marek Banaszkiewicz, the president of the Polish Space Agency, or POLSA. Credit: POLSA

WARSAW — Poland’s space agency POLSA recently signed an agreement with the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). The two agencies are to cooperate on joint research, monitoring and developing new telecoms solutions.

The agreement was signed by the two agencies’ heads in the presence of  Polish President Andrzej Duda and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Warsaw in late June.

Partnership with China

“The cooperation between the Polish Space Agency and the Chinese National Space Administration will be related to three fields: space research, exchange and use of satellite data to develop our scientific knowledge on Earth, including observation and monitoring of climate change and the environment, and the development of space technology, including in the field of telecommunication,” professor Marek Banaszkiewicz, the president of POLSA, told SpaceNews. “The development of space technologies is one of the fields of cooperation between POLSA and the CNSA, so we will certainly discuss transfers of technology from the Chinese space sector.”

The latest efforts to spur space cooperation with China could be related to the plans which were unveiled by Polish government officials earlier this year, under which the cabinet is mulling the establishment of a national space company. The company’s purpose would be to spur development of smaller companies from the Polish space sector.

Increased Cooperation by Companies

Banaszkiewicz said that, following the signing of the latest deal between Beijing and Warsaw, “Polish entrepreneurs will be most interested in the field related to the development of technology and telecommunications.”

Asked about the potential for new partnerships between space companies from Poland and China, the agency’s president said that “the Chinese are a very active player in the space industry. They have numerous contacts, and they initiate many meetings and build business relations on their own.”

At a debate held on June 16 by local news weekly Gazeta Polska, Poland’s Deputy Prime Minister and Development Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that the government will support efforts by private companies to develop the country’s space sector, and that the cabinet has the ambitions to foster the launch of Poland’s first satellite.

POLSA’s agreement with the CNSA marks the signing of the first such deal this year. In 2015, the Polish agency signed agreements with its counterparts from France, Italy, Ukraine and Brazil.

Following last year’s deal between POLSA and the Space State Agency of Ukraine (SSAU), Poland’s leading state-owned defense group PGZ inked an agreement with the Ukrainian agency to cooperate on joint projects, including satellite development. To complement the deal signed by Beijing and Warsaw in June, PGZ could also establish closer cooperation with the Chinese space sector.

Based in Gdansk, on the Polish Baltic Sea shore, POLSA was set up in 2014 with the aim to coordinate the efforts of Poland’s business and scientific circles to increase the country’s space presence. In addition to this, POLSA says it is responsible for assisting in the acquisition of funds from the European Space Agency, promoting satellite technology, and enhancing Poland’s defense capacities.

Brian Berger is editor in chief of and the SpaceNews magazine. He joined in 1998, spending his first decade with the publication covering NASA. His reporting on the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia accident was...