The European Commission has opened a competition to further develop the European space sector. The prize – part of the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot – will award €10m to an innovative, commercially viable and low-cost solutions to launch light satellites.
Space technology, data and services have become indispensable in the daily lives of Europeans and for Europe to pursue its strategic interests. The commission has presented the new EU space beyond 2020 programme to invest more in space and adapt to new needs and technologies within the European space sector.
Small, light satellites are crucial to improve:
- Internet-based connectivity;
- Internet services;
- Earth imaging; and
To ensure that the EU is able to launch these satellites independently, it needs to have its own dedicated services for small satellites.
How will the prize contribute to Europe’s space sector?
The prize will contribute to the objectives of the commission’s Space Strategy for Europe, which aims at reinforcing Europe’s autonomy in accessing space and at encouraging the development of the space market. The deadline for applications is 1 June 2021 to give participants time to develop their model. According to the commission, extra points will be given to participants if they have already succeeded in launching their satellites and developed a concept for their services by the time of their application.
The European Innovation Council pilot – run under Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme – provides top-class support for innovators, entrepreneurs, small companies and scientists with bright ideas and ambition to scale up.
Boosting the space sector beyond 2020
The European Commission has proposed for the next long-term EU budget to devote €16bn to help maintain and further enhance EU space leadership.
The new EU Space Programme will invest more in space activities, adapting to new needs and technologies, while reinforcing Europe’s autonomous access to space and further enhancing EU space leadership.