Assumptions of the Polish Space Strategy – A Milestone for the Industry

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During the European Robotics Congress which is a part of the European Rover Challenge held in Jasionka, near Rzeszów, Polish Minister of Development Jadwiga Emilewicz presented the assumptions of the new Polish Space Strategy.   

Assumptions of the Polish Space Strategy have been divided into four strategic areas:

  1. Development of competences and infrastructure for processing and using the satellite data, in order to meet the Polish needs, and development of tools and systems that may exhibit export potential.
  2. “Polish Satellite” – Attempt to enter a higher level within the hierarchy of values, pertaining to the satellite solutions, e.g. through initiation of production of nano-satellites'.
  3. Further development of subsystems and technology used in space exploration.
  4. Establishment of strong space industry in Poland, through education, creation of human resources, and provision of support for the relevant companies

Within the first area, a high priority has been set with a reference to the options related to the Earth Observation systems that may be used for the purpose of spatial planning, monitoring of the environment, agriculture or infrastructure, or which may be utilized for the purpose of supporting the process of extraction of the natural resources. At the same time, medium priority has been ascribed to navigation and communications. 

The first area also refers to the second of the strategic goalsnamely, creating a Polish satellite. Nonetheless, firstly we may expect that a number of nano-satellites would be sent into the orbit, in order to be used for civilian (Earth Observation and research) purposes above all. However, that equipment will also be used by the military, as a reconnaissance asset, however this will not, most probably, be the primary area of use for the Polish nano-satellites. A single example of such satellite is to cost no more than USD 50 million. 

The programme in which a larger, 500 kg satellite is to be developed is still going to be pursued, however Minister Emilewicz was unable to indicate a specific date, on which such instrument could be sent into the orbit. Most probably the timeline for the programme here is long, adding up to 10 years. The advanced medium or large satellite may be developed in collaboration with third parties, within the framework of a programme pursued by ESA.

When it comes to technologies and subsystems usable in the process of space exploration, a high priority has been given to the following subject areas: control software, big data computing, precision mechanics, electronics, optoelectronics, optics and material engineering and composites. Lower priority has been ascribed to robotics and autonomous systems, space exploration robots such as rovers and probes, and to the field of artificial intelligence. At the same time, the strategy defines this area as the one which undergoes a dynamic development, which means that this field may form opportunities for new, innovative companies, also hailing from Poland. 

In the area related to establishment of strong space industry in Poland, the government is planning to make investments, the aim of which would be to develop laboratories and research institutes. Secondly, reinforcement of the Polish Space Agency is expected, along with education of the staff. Thirdly, an effective bridge needs to be created between business and science, e.g. through creation of new profiled university programmes, compliant with the requirements defined by the businesses, within the scope of space engineering and internship programmes.

Creation of the Polish Space Strategy is to constitute another milestone, in development of the Polish space sector, comparable to the event in which Poland joined ESA (back in 2012), or to the foundation of the Polish Space Agency, back in 2014. Whether such value would be achievedwe will be able to assess this in a few years. Undoubtedly, the presented assumptions become a clear direction for the space industry, when it comes to the areas of interest and investment. The strategy is also an expression of the government’s will to invest in expansion of the space sector, within the scope of the Plan for Responsible Development, implemented by Deputy PM Morawiecki. The fact that assumptions for the strategy have been created shall be viewed positively, as an important step for the whole space industry.