On February 15, the European Commission presented a €6 billion satellite communications plan that includes a proposal for a Regulation on a space-based secure connectivity for the period 2023-2027 and a Joint Communication on an EU approach on Space Traffic Management (STM).
The EU recognizes the importance of space technology in facilitating daily lives, contributing to a more digital, green and resilient future for the planet. As a major space power, the EU’s Space Programme already provides valuable data and services for a wide array of daily applications from transport, agriculture, and crisis response to the fight against climate change, to name a few.
Overall, the push for secure connectivity comes in response to the growing demand for satellite communications. The aim is to develop a multi-orbital space-based connectivity system that will extend the availability of these services.
The Commission is putting forward an ambitious plan for an EU space-based secure communication system that will:
- Ensure the long-term availability of worldwide uninterrupted access to secure and cost-effective satellite communication services. It will support the protection of critical infrastructures, surveillance, external actions, crisis management and applications that are critical for Member States’ economy, security and defence;
- Allow for the provision of commercial services by the private sector that can enable access to advanced, reliable and fast connections to citizens and businesses across Europe, including in communication dead zones ensuring cohesion across Member States. This is one of the targets of the proposed 2030 Digital Decade. The system will also provide connectivity over geographical areas of strategic interest, for instance Africa and the Arctic, as part of the EU Global Gateway strategy.
Under the remit of Space Traffic Management, the EU approach focuses on four elements:
- Assessing the STM civilian and military requirements and impacts for the EU;
- Strengthening our technological capability to identify and track spacecraft and space debris;
- Setting out the appropriate normative and legislative framework;
- Establishing international partnerships on STM and engaging at a multilateral level.