ESA helps Greece to boost its space investments

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26/11/2021 408 views 13 likes

Ambitious plans to expand the nascent space industry in Greece – enabling the digital transformation of society while creating jobs and generating prosperity – have received a fillip from ESA.

On 26 November, the Ministry of Digital Governance in Greece announced the implementation path to materialise its Greek National Satellite Space Project, with the technical support of ESA.

The project is part of the nation’s Recovery and Resilience Facility plans, which aim to enhance Greece’s capabilities in satellite technologies and applications, and to empower the country to exchange satellite data.

The Greek government is keen to ensure that the country is well positioned to contribute an inter-operable asset to the EU’s Govsatcom programme for secure communications, the proposed European quantum communications infrastructure and the envisaged EU secure space-based communication system. ESA supports plans to create such secure communications networks.

Greece seeks to develop, manufacture, launch and pre-operate small satellites capable of hosting various multipurpose payloads in response to European and national needs for secure connectivity. It wants to expand into telecommunications including quantum communication, video streaming for maritime, urban planning, border surveillance and forest fire monitoring, using national assets, including the optical ground stations at Chelmos, Skinakas and Cholomontas.

These three optical ground stations are due to be used as nodes in the EU’s proposed quantum communications infrastructure, called EuroQCI. ESA has been working with the European Commission to design, develop and deploy the EuroQCI initiative since 2019.

ESA is already helping Greece to realise its space ambitions. In March, ESA set up a business incubation centre based in the Marousi suburb of Athens to support space-related start-up companies to develop their businesses. It aims to support 25 such companies over the next five years.

Athanasios Staveris-Polykalas, Secretary General of Telecommunications and Post in the Ministry of Digital Governance in the Greek government, said: “With the moto ‘Space for Digital Transformation’ we are taking step by step the necessary actions to support our space community and respond to national and European needs.”

Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA, said: “It has been a priority for us to identify how ESA can best be of assistance to all Member States, including the Greek National Satellite Space Project, and I am pleased that we have come to an agreement. Under this new project, Greece will better their positioning for future European projects, making the country a stronger contributor within the European space ecosystem. Providing assistance to our Member States is in ESA’s genes.”

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