From the EU a billion dollar fund for space

A fund of one billion from Europe to support new companies engaged in space, a sector in full growth and in which satellite services alone fuel a market that exceeded 200 billion in 2021 and which promises to reach 500 within ten years. Rosy forecasts also for the development of the sector in Italy, in particular for the Space economy, whose global market is valued at 370 billion euros by a research by the Politecnico di Milano.

The space investment fund, called ‘Cassini’, was launched in Brussels by the European Commission in the Conference dedicated to space. “Europe has a vibrant ecosystem of start-ups with disruptive ideas and technologies, but many of them fail to make large investments when they need to expand and have no choice but to turn to third party investors. This is why the Cassini fund it will represent a turning point, “said European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton. The fund, which will be complemented by an EIB tool to ensure that start-ups can access loans, is part of a broader European strategy to strengthen its presence in space, increasingly freeing itself from dependence on the United States.

The main tools of this transition, Breton said, are the Galileo system for satellite navigation and the Copernicus program for Earth observation, managed by the EU Commission and the European Space Agency (ESA). In this regard, research by the European Union Agency for the Space Program (Euspa) indicates that in 2031 global shipments of satellite navigation receivers could reach a volume of 2.5 billion units per year.

Other strengths of the European space are the security of communications, with the project of a constellation of satellites that the EU is preparing to present in the coming weeks, and the new strategy for security and defense that the EU intends to present in the coming months, said EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.

The Space economy also plays a leading role, which according to the study by the Politecnico di Milano, counts on government investments in the world ranging from 86.9 billion to 100.7 billion dollars globally. In terms of expenditure, 2021 saw Europe (with 11.48 billion dollars) second in the world after the United States (43.01 billion dollars); followed by China, Russia, Japan and India.

The focus is also on space transport, with new launchers, such as the one presented by ArianeGroup: “Maia will be a mini launcher for constellations of small and nano satellites” and will “accelerate the development of technologies necessary for the new family of European launchers”, he said. Morena Bernardini, Director of Strategy and Innovation of ArianeGroup.

Italy has what it takes to be the protagonist of this new page of the European space, thanks to the funds of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr). “Very confident about the objectives of the NRP”, said the minister for technological innovation and digital transition, Vittorio Colao. “Through the PNRR we can become an even more important country in the sector”, said Massimo Claudio Comparini, managing director of Thales Alenia Space Italia, who spoke in Milan, where the Politecnico presented the results of a research on the Space economy in our country. “But it is a race against time”, said Giulio Ranzo, CEO of Avio. “The resources of the PNRR – he added – must be used by 2026, now is the time to focus on simplicity and translate ideas into contracts”.

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