Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
DG GROW Newsroom

European Commission and European Space Agency sign agreement to support innovation in the space sector

The European Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA) have signed a Contribution Agreement on Space Technology Activities that will enable them to provide in-orbit demonstration and validation services to the space sector. These services allow industries to effectively test new technologies in orbit, reducing the time it takes to bring them to market.

Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, responsible for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, said: “I am glad that we signed the agreement with ESA today. If we want to foster an innovative European space sector, we need to be able to test new technologies in orbit. It is a unique tool to accelerate the development and marketing of innovative technologies. That's how the European space sector can stay globally competitive.”

Companies will be able to use ‘flight tickets to reach orbit' to test their new technologies relying on European solutions, both for spacecraft and for ground and launch services. The Commission published a call for expression of interest to select experiments for such in-orbit testing. Last year, the Commission also launched a contest for the development of a European low-cost solution for launching light satellites. To help maintain and further enhance the EU's leadership in space under the next budget period, the Commission proposed a €16 billion EU Space Programme. The new programme will invest more in space activities, adapting to new needs and technologies, while reinforcing Europe's autonomous access to space. The European Parliament will vote tomorrow on the Space Programme.