The new agreement between Poland and the European Space Agency was signed on January 12th in Warsaw. The document was signed by Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Director General of ESA, and Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy Prime Minister of the Polish Government.Poland has been a fully-fledged member of the European Space Agency since November 19th 2012. ESA is an organisation enabling joint development of space technologies and satellite applications for down to Earth purposes. Since 1974 ESA has been realising numerous space missions beyond the immediate surroundings of the Earth. Currently the Agency consists of 22 member states.
At the last Ministerial Council of ESA (December 2016) Poland discussed it’s financial contribution to the Agency. The budget for optional programs for the next four years was increased by 25% in comparison to the previous allocation, hence according to formal requirements Poland and ESA signed the new agreement on January 12th 2017.
The agreement was signed by the Minister of Economic Development Mateusz Morawiecki and the Director General of ESA Johann-Dietrich Wörner. The agreement extends the duration of the „Polish Industry Incentive Scheme” programme until 2019. It’s assumption is to enable Polish entities to realise space-related projects and to gain necessary experience and competences. It is worth emphasising that this is the first time ESA agreed to extend the duration of the program – the Czech Republic and Romania finished their programs 5 years after joining ESA.
During the press conference Minister Morawiecki was asked many questions, which were not related to the space sector, but to the current political crisis in Poland. He was also asked about the recent smog in Poland and here the ESA Director General added that satellite data is extremely important for monitoring the condition of contaminations and gas emissions. The Polish representatives also declared to develop and improve the internship program for young graduates who want to pursue a professional career in the space sector.
The representative of Kosmonauta.net asked about anticipated changes in Earth Observation programs and about climate research realised by NASA after presidential elections in the USA and ESA’s role in sustaining this research. Johann Wörner explained that there is still no information on changes in NASA and that Earth Observation programmes, such as examining climate change is one of the strengths of ESA. The European Copernicus programme also delivers such accurate data that Americans are using it in their research. In the future ESA plans further developments of satellite applications and creating a market for satellite data obtained from European Earth Observation satellites. Wörner stressed that space sector generates multiple indirect and long-ranged advantages for different economy sectors.
During the second part of the meeting the Director General of ESA presented the conception of Space 4.0, a vision of the Agency’s future development.. The elements of Space 4.0 are: integration of space sector with economy and society, competitiveness of the European sector in global scale and simultaneously European autonomy in the space branch (e.g. own capabilities in access to space). Realisation of some of those goals will be possible only with the engagement of private funding e.g. in a form of a public-private partnership.
After the presentation of ESA’s Director, Polish representatives presented assumptions of the National Space Strategy. The presentation was conducted by Jadwiga Emilewicz, the Deputy Minister for Development who is responsible for issues regarding to space programs in Poland. It is important that the Ministry of Development is visibly interested in accessing and making use of satellite data. The National Space Strategy assumes that in 2030 3% of European space sector turnover will be generated in Poland.