On January 9th 2018, the Polish Council of Ministers was significantly reconstructed. Those changes can have important implications for the Polish space sector.
Probably the most important change for the Polish space sector was the creation of two new ministries. The new ministries have been created through the division of the Ministry of Development, which so far was responsible for leading and implementing the national space policy. The new Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology with Minister Jadwiga Emilewicz as its head should be responsible for economic issues, whereas the Ministry of Investment and Development with Minister Jerzy Kwieciński, will take care of tasks, which previously were conducted within the Ministry of Development, but outside of the economic scope.
Mrs Jadwiga Emilewicz, previously undersecretary of the state in the Ministry of Development was serving as the Chairman of the Interministerial Team for Space Policy. With her new appointment and in kind with new legal regulations, soon a new Chairman must be named. A Chairman can be only a person in the rank of secretary or undersecretary of state appointed by the minister responsible for economic issues.
The Interministerial Team for Space Policy is a state body being an information and coordination platform for ministries working individual aspects of space activities and its main tasks are:
- Coordination of activities related to the Polish membership in the European Space Agency;
- Participation in the formulation of the Polish space policy and national program related to the space sector;
- Participation in assessing the department responsible for supporting entrepreneurship in space activities with the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development;
- Recommendation of budget values for optional program contribution to the European Space Agency.
This all shows that in the coming days of work allocation at the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology a new Secretary or Undersecretary will be named, personally responsible for tasks related to space policy. Thus it can be said that the Ministry of Entrepreneurship and Technology will in large scale be determining the future of the space industry in Poland.
Undoubtedly, the most anticipated change in the government, the change of the Minister of Defense (MON) Antoni Macierewicz to Mariusz Blaszczak, may also affect the development of the Polish space sector. The Ministry of Defense participates greatly in the Polish contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) and is an important stakeholder for defining the Polish needs in the creation and use of space technologies. As discussions are ongoing on the strategic needs of the Polish Armed Forces regarding use of satellite imagery, navigation and telecommunication technologies, this stakeholder will be definitely interested in the development of the Polish space industry.
Also the Ministry of Science and Higher Education has several competences in regards of research and development activities related to the space industry. The Minister and Deputy Prime Minister has stated multiple times that the employees of his ministry are aware of Polish research entities’ potential in regards to space technologies. One of the examples might be financial support granted for the PW-Sat 2 student satellite. As Minister Gowin remains on his post it can be expected that previous activities of this ministry will be continued.
In December, the Polish Space Agency (POLSA) published the draft of the National Space Program (KPK) which is supposed to be the executive tool of the Polish Space Strategy. The strategy has been written for a span of 8 years and estimates a budget of PLN 1.429 billion. It must be noted that the Polish Space Agency is supervised by the Prime Minister, thus the recent governmental changes are also relevant to the Polish space policy context. However in regard to the vision of the space industry development the words of Mateusz Morawiecki during the “5 years of Polish ESA membership” conference from November 2018 can be stated. At that time the Deputy Prime Minister stated the following:
“In the Strategy for Sustainable Development, which is the main document for the economic development of Poland we also included a place for space strategy, as we see several different synergy effects, which indirectly can be seen in multiple other industry branches”
At that time he also stated „For sure we will be allocating more funding to the space industry, and for research, for all what is needed, so that our industry – including services – will be more saturated with space elements.” The Polish space sector has seen a large increase since 2012, starting from the moment the country joined the European Space Agency. Since that time a few directions of the Polish space industry sector development can be seen, represented by several stakeholders and active entities in this sector.
Thus let us hope that the vision of the Polish space industry development accepted within the Polish Space Strategy stating “The Polish space industry will be able to compete on the European market and its turnover will be at least 3% of the general turnover of this industry” will be surpassed!