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Dynamic Growth of the Polish Space Sector: New Legislation and Ambitious Projects on the Horizon

INDUSTRIESDynamic Growth of the Polish Space Sector: New Legislation and Ambitious Projects on the Horizon

In the European Space Agency database, several hundred Polish companies are registered, and equipment made in Poland has already flown into space on over 80 missions. The Polish space sector is experiencing dynamic growth; however, there is a lack of comprehensive regulations governing space activities and oversight. The Ministry of Development has prepared a draft law on space activities, which aims to ensure the highest safety standards and promote the sustainable use of space. The law is expected to be adopted by the government in the third quarter of this year.

“The space sector is the fastest-growing branch of the economy worldwide, and the same is true in Poland. Although we don’t have large companies dealing with space technologies, most of the sector consists of small and medium-sized enterprises and scientific institutions. However, they already have significant achievements. Polish equipment has flown on over 80 missions, and domestic companies are now independently starting to build satellites. Several Polish-made satellites are already in orbit, with five still circling above us, and companies have ambitious plans to build entire constellations in the coming years,” emphasizes Professor Grzegorz Wrochna, President of the Polish Space Agency (POLSA), in an interview with Newseria Biznes.

Currently, the Polish space sector comprises around 400 companies and institutions, most of which collaborate daily with the European Space Agency (ESA). Recent years have seen European missions such as Cassini-Huygens, Rosetta, and Solar Orbiter realized with the participation of Polish scientists, and more are planned, including Proba-3, Prospect, Exo Mars, Comet Interceptor, and Athena. Equipment provided by Polish companies has been used in over 80 ESA and NASA space missions to date. Increasing the national contribution to ESA is expected to further accelerate the sector’s development, with over 90% of these funds returning to Poland as orders for Polish companies and scientific institutions.

“By increasing our contribution to the European Space Agency, we are now on par with countries like Belgium and Switzerland in terms of investment in space technologies. We want to develop new technological areas that are not yet occupied by major players, particularly in the field of what happens in orbit. Satellite observation in orbit, where we are already a key partner in European partnerships, diagnosing and repairing satellites in orbit, refueling satellites, and their deorbiting. This is a new market opening up for the space sector, and Polish companies have great potential to capitalize on it,” asserts the POLSA president.

Poland already plays a significant role in the European system for monitoring Earth’s orbit. POLSA uses data from Polish scientific, commercial, and its own telescopes, located on six continents, to warn of potential satellite and rocket part collisions and crashes as part of the EU partnership. In May this year, the agency signed the international declaration “Zero Debris Charter. Towards a Safe and Sustainable Space Environment.” According to the document, a roadmap will be created by 2030 to establish standards, technologies, and technical solutions aimed at reducing space debris. The countries that signed the agreement pledged to undertake information and promotional activities to raise awareness about the issue of space debris and the need to reduce it in the future.

“Every satellite we launch will need to have the capability to end its life by burning up effectively in the atmosphere after completing its mission. We will not launch anything that will simply orbit for many years and only contribute to space junk. On one hand, this may seem like a limitation, but on the other hand, it’s a great opportunity for the Polish industry to provide technologies that can extend satellite lifespans, track what’s happening in orbit, and supply special devices for satellite deorbiting after mission completion,” emphasizes Professor Grzegorz Wrochna.

The “Evaluation of the Polish Space Strategy” prepared by the Polish Space Agency indicates that nearly half of the objectives set in the 2017 document have been achieved. Although the goal of a 3% share in the European market has not been reached, there is a noticeable increase in the competitiveness of the Polish space sector. The 400 companies in the industry generate turnovers amounting to several million euros, succeeding in ESA, EU, EUMETSAT projects, and in commercial markets, including New Space. Domestic space companies specialize in control and robotics, the application of Earth observation data, mechatronics, optics and communication systems for satellites, scientific sensors, space and ground software.

“We will now work on updating this strategy because the indicators it predicted were only valid until 2020. Seeing how new technologies are developing, we must now update the new goals of this strategy to 2030,” the expert announces. “Increased activity in the space sector means we need to regulate these activities, particularly since the state is responsible for the consequences of everything launched into space and produced in that country. Therefore, we must implement mechanisms in Poland to ensure that what our companies launch into space is safe.”

As a result of the dynamic development of the Polish space sector, the possibility of realizing and participating in increasingly mature and complex space projects is growing. However, there is a lack of comprehensive regulations in the national legal system governing space activities and their supervision. Therefore, the Ministry of Development and Technology has prepared a draft law on space activities, which aims to regulate the sector and ensure the highest safety standards.

“The ministry is currently finalizing this document. It should enter the legislative process this year, and by the end of the year, Polish space law should already be in place,” announces the president of the Polish Space Agency.

The proposed law will regulate the principles of conducting space activities, the conditions and procedures for issuing permits for such activities, the principles and procedures for supervising space activities, liability for damages caused in connection with such activities, and the maintenance of the National Register of Space Objects.

These regulations are particularly important in the context of projects being implemented by public administration, involving the creation of two compatible satellite constellations: the Camilla project and the Satellite Earth Observation System (SSOZ) – MikroGlob. The former aims to design, build, and launch at least four observational satellites by the end of 2027, primarily for civilian use, and to develop ground segment devices. MikroGlob, on the other hand, is to ensure autonomous capability to provide high-resolution satellite imagery for users associated with the state’s security and defense sector (Ministry of National Defense, Ministry of Interior and Administration) and public administration.

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