Today, the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) headquarters celebrates 10 years of calling Prague, Czech Republic home. The Agency, then called the European GNSS Agency (GSA), moved to the ‘Golden City’ in 2012, following an open call held by the European Commission in which the Czech Republic won.
"Prague offers a high quality of living, access to a skilled talent pool and great connections to the rest of Europe, making it a truly European city fit to host an EU agency", says EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa.
Understanding the importance of hosting an EU agency, EUSPA maintains close ties with its host countries, which, in addition to the Czech Republic, include Spain, where the GNSS Service Centre (GSC) is based; France, which co-host the Galileo Security Monitoring Centre (GSMC) with Spain; the Netherlands, home of the Galileo Reference Centre (GRC); Belgium, where the Galileo Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) Centre is located; and Germany and Italy, each of which host a Galileo Control Centre (GCC).
"We are an EU agency dedicated to serving the space needs of citizens, businesses and other stakeholders from all Member States," adds da Costa. "By engaging with the entire EU Space community, we contribute to achieving such European goals as the Green Deal and digital transformation – all while reinforcing the EU’s autonomy and resilience."
A decade of growth and development
In the decade since the move, both the EU Space Programme and the Czech Republic’s space sector have enjoyed continuous growth and development. Through various grants, Horizon calls and other funding mechanisms, EUSPA has provided significant funding to start-ups, SMEs, enterprises and research across all EU Member States – including EUR 2.2 million to Czech-based initiatives, many of which are making substantial contributions to the EU’s robust space economy.
EUSPA has also seen its mandate expand since it first landed in Prague. Not only is the Agency now responsible for overseeing the security, services and market uptake of Galileo and EGNOS, but also Copernicus, Europe’s Earth Observation (EO) service.
This list of responsibilities is by no means stagnant. As part of its expanded mandate, EUSPA has been entrusted with additional responsibilities relating to GOVSATCOM, a user-centric programme designed to meet the unique requirements of governmental applications, including those used for crisis management, surveillance and the management of key infrastructures. In 2023, EUSPA will take responsibility for the Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) Front Desk operations service, part of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) component of the EU Space Programme.
A future in Prague
Earlier this year, EUSPA signed an amended host agreement with the Czech Republic, cementing Prague’s place at the heart of the EU Space Programme for years to come.
“I look forward to continuing to call this vibrant city home and, together with our Czech partners, further grow the EU Space Programme and develop the European space economy, ” notes da Costa.
In October, the city is set to welcome EU Space Week 2022, Europe’s premiere space event. We are organising this event jointly with the European Commission, the city of Prague under the auspices of the Czech Presidency of the Council of the EU.
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