The Slovenia Times

Slovenia seeks full membership in European Space Agency

Science & Technology
The main control room of the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany. Photo: ESA

Slovenia has officially applied for full membership in the European Space Agency (ESA), triggering a one-year period during which the agency's working bodies will examine whether the country meets the conditions for the status.

The application was submitted to ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher on the sidelines of the agency's ministerial meeting in Spain's Seville on 6 November.

In the last official step before the submission the government adopted the first national Space Strategy on 3 November.

"The adoption of the Space Strategy is the last milestone in the formal procedure for the full membership in the European Space Agency. This provides Slovenia with the chance to accelerate the development of its space sector," State Secretary Matevž Frangež was quoted as saying by the Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport.

Frangež, who submitted the application, said it was an opportunity to improve space research and to develop disruptive innovation and revive the Slovenian economy.

The ministry noted that in recent years, Slovenia had managed to build a promising space sector, which consisted of more than 40 small and medium-sized enterprises.

These companies have managed to take a leading role in certain niche fields in space technology, especially in Earth observation and development of innovative technologies, new materials and satellites.

Slovenia's full membership in the ESA means an opportunity to increase the importance of the space sector in Slovenia and greater responsibility in joint European efforts, the ministry said.

The national Space Strategy sets out activities aimed at making the Slovenian space industry more competitive and allowing it to become a leader in areas where Slovenian stakeholders excel.

Slovenia intends to expand its participation in international efforts to discover and explore space, to further develop the know-how and technologies that enable human and robotic exploration missions, and to promote the development and use of space applications for a stronger commercial, sustainable and creative future with the use of next-generation technologies, according to the document.

One of the commitments set out is to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics among future generations and foster entrepreneurship and development of start-ups within universities and research and technology organisations through space innovation programmes.


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