The EU Agency for the Space Programme celebrates its first anniversary with new services, a new satellite and even more end users.
Time flies when you’re busy getting things done. And in the first year of its existence, the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) has gotten a lot of things done.
“EUSPA’s launch one year ago today represented the start of a new era for the EU Space Programme,” says EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa. “With an expanded mandate and new responsibilities, we are committed to helping the EU, its citizens and its businesses maximise the many social and economic benefits of space.”
“Today we celebrate EUSPA. It's also the opportunity to reflect and be proud of the milestones we achieved by working together. More users, more services, and satellites in space! Go Europe, go EUSPA!'' concludes EUSPA Administrative Board Chair, Václav Kobera.
Building on the legacy of the European GNSS Agency (GSA), EUSPA’s mandate includes not only overseeing the security, services and market uptake of Galileo and EGNOS, but also Copernicus, Europe’s Earth Observation (EO) service – an area with significant commercial potential.
According to the first ever EUSPA EO and GNSS Market Report, published earlier this year, SMEs and start-ups account for more than 93% of European Earth Observation companies. With revenues set to double from approximately EUR 2.8 billion to over EUR 5.5 billion within the next decade, the EO market is full of opportunities for EU businesses and entrepreneurs.
To ensure companies take advantage of these opportunities, EUSPA has positioned itself as the go-to-source for all things related to Earth Observation. In addition to providing market intelligence, the Agency works directly with businesses to help them best leverage Copernicus data, information and services. EUSPA also launched several EO focused funding opportunities, including Horizon Calls and innovation competitions.
But Copernicus doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It also complements the other components of the EU Space Programme, which is why EUSPA is constantly promoting the benefits of using Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS together.
“Galileo and EGNOS enable the determination of a precise position, anywhere and Copernicus provides information on the Earth’s surface, atmosphere and oceans,” adds da Costa. “When you put these programmes together, you unleash an array of synergies that can have a powerful impact on society and the planet.”
A new pillar for the EU Space Programme
This list of space programmes will soon add a new name. GOVSATCOM, the fourth pillar of the EU Space Programme, is 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.
“While Copernicus and EGNSS provide the necessary data and positioning, European governments and institutions need a means of communication that is robustly protected against interference, interception, intrusion and other risks” explains da Costa. “Once operational, GOVSATCOM will bridge this gap between the need for assured and secure communication and the capabilities offered by Copernicus, Galileo and EGNOS.”
As part of its expanded mandate, EUSPA has been entrusted with the procurement of the secure ground segment, its operations and the coordination of the user-related aspects of GOVSATCOM.
The mission remains the same
EUSPA’s first year also saw the development of new services and the launch of new satellites. As to the former, the Agency has been busy developing two new Galileo services: a High Accuracy Service (HAS) for high accuracy Precise Point Positioning (PPP) corrections and the Open Service Navigation Message Authentication (OSNMA), which will provide receivers with a first level of protection against falsifying and spoofing.
The entry into service of a new additional satellite, GSAT 2203, has brought enhanced accuracy and more precise positioning to the Galileo service provision.
But even with its expanded mandate and new responsibilities, EUSPA’s mission remains the same: linking space to user needs. “I am extremely proud of everything EUSPA has achieved in a year, which is the direct result of our dedicated professionals, all of whom embrace a service-oriented mindset and are passionate about making space technology accessible to EU citizens and businesses,” concludes da Costa.
“It is an honour to serve as Chair of the Security Accreditation Board, the independent authority that provides accreditation to all of the EU Space Programme’s components. Thanks to SAB, EUSPA is at the front lines of cybersecurity, providing end-users with the confidence of knowing that the space-derived data they depend on is safe and secure,” adds Bruno Vermeire.
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