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August 29, 2023

An increase of 295 million euros in Poland’s contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) between 2023 and 2025 will bring concrete benefits to our country. This is not only the participation of a Polish astronaut in a mission to the International Space Station, but also programs and activities that will help our economy jump to a higher level of development.

On August 29, 2023 the Ministry of Development and Technology, Minister Waldemar Buda and ESA Director General Dr. Josef Aschbacher, signed agreements on programs to support the development of the Polish space sector. The first agreement concerns internships for Polish graduates at ESA. The second, the development of Polish space technologies. The heads of the MoD and ESA also exchanged an agreement signed in early August guaranteeing the presence of a second Pole in space.

We have aspirations, but also predispositions to be among the countries that have strongly developed space technologies in a few years. In 10-15 years, the strength of countries will be judged precisely from this angle. Our goal is not to catch up with others, but to be among the world leaders. Strengthened cooperation between Poland and the ESA will pay us back many times over – the second Pole in history will fly into space, the level of domestic space technologies will increase, high-paying jobs will be created, there will be a dynamic development of our economy – points out the Minister of Development and Technology Waldemar Buda.

In addition to the above agreements, the strengthened cooperation between Poland and ESA also involves the construction of 2 or 3 observation satellites in Poland and new contracts for Polish companies.

Last year we celebrated Poland’s 10th anniversary in ESA, and Polish engineers are involved in many of our flagship missions. If Europe wants to play in the same league as other powers in the upcoming decade, we need to step up our ambition. I am very pleased that Poland has understood this message: the new astronaut mission, along with the investments announced today, mean that Poland is positioning itself as a space nation and key partner in the space sector both in Europe and globally – says ESA Director General Dr. Josef Aschbacher.

Historic event – the second Pole in space

A Polish astronaut will take part in a mission to the International Space Station (ISS). He will be able to test the most advanced Polish technologies. For our companies, this is a unique opportunity to gain unique experience, which will confirm the high quality of Polish products.

In addition to testing Polish technology in low Earth orbit, the educational aspect is also important. Lessons broadcast from the ISS led by a Polish astronaut will reach thousands of schoolchildren and translate into a great interest in space topics among young Poles.

Internships for graduates and the development of Polish space technologies

Thanks to the agreements signed today, domestic entrepreneurs and representatives of scientific centers and institutions will be able to refine their solutions, allowing them to become more competitive in the international market. In addition to supporting Polish technological thought, we are also investing in future space sector personnel. The possibility of an internship at the ESA is an opportunity for graduates of Polish universities to gain invaluable knowledge – Minister Buda noted.

Graduates of majors related to space policy in the broadest sense of the term will be able to apply for an internship at the ESA. The first intake organized by the Polish Space Agency (POLSA) is already planned for September this year. The program envisages a total of 30 two-year paid internships that will enhance the qualifications of Polish space sector specialists and contribute to the development of human resources. The internships have been allocated €3 million.

The second agreement signed today concerns a program to help create Polish space specialties in areas that are not covered by ESA’s thematic programs. Funds of €7 million will be allocated for projects at medium and high levels of technological readiness, as well as for satellite development.

– Stimulation of the Polish space sector through ESA investment will contribute to the commercialization of developed space technologies, increase sales of Polish products and services, and, in the long term, produce space specialties, building the competitiveness and brand of the Polish space sector. Still in this decade, the Polish space industry has the potential to become an important player in the commercial use of space – says President of the Polish Space Agency Grzegorz Wrochna.

Poland’s decade in the ESA

Since 2012. Poland is a member of the European Space Agency. This has accelerated the development of the Polish space sector. We have become an important and recognizable partner in European space programs in research and space and satellite technologies. Polish scientists are establishing contacts with new partners, working on technologies, receiving financial support and access to ESA infrastructure.

Apparatus supplied by Polish companies has been used in more than 80 ESA and NASA space missions.

In recent years, European missions including CASSINI-HUYGENS, ROSSETTA, BEPICOLOMBO, and SOLAR ORBITER have been carried out with the participation of Polish engineers and scientists. Others planned include: PROBA-3, PROSPECT, TGO, Exo Mars, Comet Interceptor and Athena.

Polish space sector

The Polish space sector currently consists of more than 400 entities (companies and institutes), mainly from the SME sector. Already more than 200 of them cooperate with ESA on a daily basis. Employment in the sector is about 15,000 people. Contracts won by Polish companies exceed the amount of 140 million euros.

Domestic space companies specialize in control and robotics, application of Earth observation data, mechatronics, optics and communication systems for satellites, scientific sensors, space and terrestrial software, among others.

Key European space companies as well as ICT and aerospace companies also have their branches in Poland.

An example of a successful Polish company is SATIM Satellite Monitoring. It is a world leader in detecting and classifying objects in SAR satellite images. The company is able to accurately detect and classify objects in near real time on the open sea, in ports and on land. The solution is used by NATO, enhancing the security of the Alliance. Another example is WASAT sp. z o.o., which, using satellite data, offers services for precision agriculture, e.g. maps for optimal nitrogen fertilization via the “FertiSat” web service. Another polish company ITTI Ltd. has developed FREE-P, a guidance system for free parking spaces. It consists of a mobile application for drivers and accent services, integrating data from other sources, e.g. parking operators’ apps, Google Maps.

Space technologies in our daily life

The dynamic development of the Polish space technology market affects many areas of our lives, although sometimes we don’t realize it. It is, for example, scratch-resistant eyeglass lenses or shape memory foam in mattresses. Others are satellite navigation, cameras in smartphones, water filters or vacuum packaging for food. Technology solutions that have been developed for space missions also benefit medicine. They make possible laser vision correction, kidney dialysis, artificial heart support or CT scans. Also invented by space (NASA) is thermal foil, which is used in medical rescue and contactless thermometers, among other things.

Space research also helps us take care of safety. Satellite navigation is widely used in defense and military communications.

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