On 27-28 October 2022, the Polish space industry celebrated 10 years of activity

A two-day jubilee conference on the occasion of 10 years of the Polish membership in the European Space Agency (the ESA) as well as a decade of activity of the Polish Space Industry Association (the SPACE PL) is behind us. This long-awaited event was an excellent occasion for memories, summaries, and discussions on the current plans and challenges for the future of our industry.

Representatives of the Polish Delegation to the ESA, the Polish Space Agency (the POLSA) and high officials from the ESA (headed by secretary-general Josef Aschbacher) participated in the event as speakers. Almost 70 companies and R+D institutions or polytechnics attended the event, including gen. Mirosław Hermaszewski, the only Polish cosmonaut so far.

The history of membership of Poland to the ESA as well as the parallel founding the Polish Space Industry Association was presented respectively by Piotr Zabadała, a head of the Polish Delegation to the ESA and Paweł Wojtkiewicz, president of the SPACE PL. In turn, the Polish way to outer space was presented by prof. Iwona Stanisławska, director of CBK PAN.

Paweł Wojtkiewicz: In the last 10 years the Polish space sector became a full-fledged part of the Polish economy

Paweł Wojtkiewicz pointed out that during the last 10 years the Polish space sector became a full-fledged part of the Polish economy. While a decade ago it was a small segment, today it is an increasingly mature industry. Since joining the ESA, the Polish entities have worked out space projects at the level of EUR 140 mln. Simultaneously, Poland increased its participation in the worldwide space mission to 77. The number of entities of the SPACE PL increased from 19 (2012) to 69 (2022), which shows a scale of growth. The number of employees was rising as well, achieving roughly 6000 employees.

Paweł Wojtkiewicz underlined how the SPACE PL is engaged in cooperation with the government and public administration. The organization, constantly for 2012 r. has been providing the administration with information on the space sector in Poland (over 400 white papers and speeches). So far, the SPACE PL has participated in consultations of the most crucial normative acts, programs and solutions for the space sector, including recommendations for all the ESA Ministerial Councils since 2012, the Polish Space Strategy or the Polish Space Program (not yet implemented).

The SPACE PL participated in the most important industry conferences or fairs organized in the country and abroad promoting its members. The Association is the organizer of the Space Sector Forum, the largest Polish conference combined with an exhibition for the space industry in Poland. It also supports the development of human resources and their competencies. Together with ARP SA, it organizes the internship program entitled „Development of human resources in the space sector”.

Pride of the sector

During the industrial panel, prepared by the SPACE PL, technologies worked out by our entities over the last decade were presented and discussed. The technologies, which we are proud of. Achievements in eight key areas such as applications and data processing, space debris, satellite telecommunications, space instruments and structures, space software, space robotics and mechanisms, satellite systems as well as launchers were presented by dedicated representatives of industrial entities.

The following representatives of the ESA had their speeches: Simonetta Cheli, director for EO, Fabio Favata from the science directorate, Géraldine Naja – director for commercialisation, industry and procurement, Daniel Neuenschwander – director for space transportation, Elodie Viau – director for telecommunication and integrated applications, Holger Krag from directorate of space operations, Marco Falcone from directorate of navigation, Leopold Summerer from directorate of technology engineering and quality as well as Juliette Kaysan from Directorate of Human and Robotic Exploration. Corporate issues were, in turn, presented by Eric Morel de Westgaver – director for European, legal and international affairs.

Josef Aschbacher: Investments in space make profits

Josef Aschbacher, the ESA general secretary was an honourary guest on the second day of the conference. He had a speech together with a vice-minister of development Kamila Król, vice-minister of Wojciech Murdzek, president of the POLSA Grzegorz Wrochna and president of the SPACE PL Pawel Wojtkiewicz. Aschbacher stressed that 10 years of the Polish membership to the ESA was a time of extraordinary successes and a very useful partnership for both parties. He underlined that Poland can play a crucial role in outer space as well as gain huge profits from the space as general. Josef Aschbacher encouraged to invest in the space sector in the context of the approaching meeting of the ESA Ministerial Council in November 2022, where the Polish government is to declare the amount of the Polish subscription to optional programmes for 2023-2025.

During the conference, the launch of the ESA Incubation Centre in Rzeszow was announced. The Centre will be managed by ARP SA. During the conference panel about start-ups, Paweł Kwiatkowski, the ESA technology broker from Absiskey Polska presented a programme “The ESA TE+AM” about commercialization and space technology transfer to the non-space industry.

The organizers of the conference were as follows: the Ministry of Development and Technology, the Polish Space Agency, the Polish Space Industry Association.