The Polish space industry is growing big


According to the Polish National Space Agency, the Polish space sector is developing rapidly. Swiss technology is here to help. 

The Polish space industry has a relatively short history. However, the recent announcements of the Polish National Space Agency (POLSA) reveal plans to strongly develop the Polish space sector. Several tenders pose opportunities for Swiss SMEs to present their technologies. In November 2012 Poland became the 20th member state of the European Space Agency (ESA) paying yearly contribution fees of ca. 30m EUR. This most important fact in the history of the Polish space sector enables Polish companies and research institutes to strengthen their capacities in this field. In 2013 the Polish Ministry of Economy published a comprehensive plan of the development of the Polish space sector for the years 2014 – 2020. Moreover 2014 saw the launch of the Polish Space Agency (POLSA) with the aim to support the establishment of the Polish space industry through elimination of barriers between business and science and assistance for Polish entrepreneurs in receiving financing from ESA.

The vision of POLSA assumes that by 2030 the Polish space sector will be in several areas highly competitive from the global perspective and will make Poland independent from external providers of satellite data. In the recent weeks POLSA has announced three tenders which allow foreseeing its strategy for the near future. The tenders concern the feasibility studies for two satellites and monitoring system on the orbit.The first satellite should research into UV rays in space, while the second one should be used for civil and military purposes as currently the Polish Army relies on satellite data from other countries.

What is more, the Ministry of National Defence is analysing the possibilities of launching two additional satellites based on optical technology and a terrestrial station. In July the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBiR) announced a tender for a system monitoring foreign satellites on the orbit. According to the unofficial information the first satellite should be launched within the next five years.

The projects are considered to be a milestone for Poland as so far it has launched only three small satellites for scientific purposes. The devices planned by POLSA and the Ministry of National Defence will be more complicated and applicable in various fields of science, economy and military. POLSA supports the growth of Polish space sector also in other ways: i.a. it finances development of tools enabling the application of satellite pictures. It also started the program that aims at supporting the Polish entrepreneurs from space industry in receiving the financing from ESA.

Currently the Polish space industry is at initial stage of development. There are several hundreds of entities operating within the Polish space sector – public research institutes, universities and mostly small and medium-sized companies. Their offer comprises services and products based on technologies and satellite data in the downstream segment. The upstream segment is still relatively young; however, one should expect the development in this area. The interest in space technologies grows steadily. The Association of Employers of the Space Sector has been operating since 2012 and has already 35 members, among them large companies, research institutes and small family-owned companies.

According to Report Space Economy at a Glance 2014 published by OECD, the space budget of Poland amounted in 2013 to ca. 46m USD which is approximately 20 % of the budget dedicated to aerospace activities in Switzerland. In 2014 the Swiss exports in the field of aerospace to Poland accounted for 14m USD while imports from Poland stood at the level of 3m USD. Polish companies are still not ready to carry out complex international space projects on their own. As an example maybe given the recent tender for the base for archiving and distributing Earth observation data – EO Innovation Platform Testbed, which was won by consortium of Polish and German companies.

Due to the fact that Switzerland over the decades has developed longstanding capacities in the space sector, Swiss companies may be considered as suitable partners for Polish entities from this particular industry.

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