On 16 December 2020, the Parliament and EU Member States reached a political agreement on the EU space programme, deciding that the EU space programme would bring all existing and new space activities under the umbrella of a single programme.
With a €13.202 billion budget agreed by the co-legislators, the EU space programme is expected to develop further the current European flagship programmes — Copernicus for earth observation and Galileo and EGNOS for satellite navigation.
These two flagships of the EU’s space policy _ Copernicus and Galileo — represent a great contribute to the public safety sector, namely, to enhance critical communications and situational awareness but also to respond quickly in times of natural disaster and crisis.
The EU space programme will also enable the launching of European initiatives in satellite communication (GOVSATCOM) and on Space Situational Awareness (SSA) to protect space infrastructure from space debris.
On 9 December 2020, Commissioner Thierry Breton described the space programme as a “fast changing landscape”, outlining the EU’s next steps in this arena.
“Innovation cycles are shortening. New private actors are emerging — bringing with them new concepts, new business models and disruptive technologies”, wrote Breton on his Linkedin profile.
The Internal Market Commissioner said that secure connectivity and quantum encryption are among the expected outputs from space applications.
“Low earth orbit constellations will allow Europe to benefit from space-based high-speed connectivity everywhere, complementary to other technologies (fibre and 5G). “It would also project Europe into the quantum encryption area, certainly the most important technological breakthrough to come”, added Breton.
Developing space traffic management is also an ambition defended by the Commission. “Thanks to the Space Surveillance and Tracking framework, which protects already 148 European satellites from collision, we have strong building blocks to be ambitious”, said Breton.