Seat of Polish Space Agency in Gdańsk
The seat of the Polish Space Agency, which will serve as the Agency’s headquarters, has opened in Gdańsk’s Science and Technology Park, with two further branches located in Warsaw and Rzeszów.
During a ceremony in Gdańsk, representatives of the Polish Space Agency, the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone, Gdańsk University of Technology, Gdynia Maritime University and the Polish Naval Academy signed a co-operation agreement - IRMAST (Innovative Research and Maritime Applications of Space).
Head of the Polish Space Agency (POLSA), Prof. Marek Banaszkiewicz explained that the Gdańsk headquarters of the Agency will also concern itself, apart from organisational matters, with scientific research and the implementation of the national space programme involving research, the development of the industry, co-operation between science and industry and the application of space techniques.
The section of POLSA related to military affairs will be based in Warsaw. The Agency also has a branch in Rzeszów. “I would say that Warsaw and Gdańsk will each house 40% of the Agency, with the rest located in Rzeszów”, he added.
When speaking about Polish potential in the space sector he stressed the fact that “Poland has a great deal to say in the space sector because it takes part in most missions led by the European Space Agency (ESA).” He admitted that “we would like to do even more, for example to head the experiments conducted during some missions.” He also thinks that “it is POLSA’s aim to achieve this (…) but it requires the participation of scientists, engineers and physicists as well as good co-operation with ESA”.
Prof. Banaszkiewicz announced that Polish engineers will be sent to work for ESA. He listed activities involving co-operation between science and industry, as well as defence and security, as the most significant challenges facing the Agency. “In relation to this, POLSA should activate certain programmes in the field of satellite and radar solutions and satellite telecommunications needed by the army”, he explained.
During the ceremony Deputy Economy Minister Grażyna Henclewska stated that thanks to the emergence of POLSA Poland can actively participate in creating solutions in space and satellite technologies. “ We can build our own high technology industry …We would like our industry to have its own competence in Europe”, she added.
Henclewska announced that the platform which registers businesses willing to implement projects for ESA has already recorded around 220 businesses from Poland. “This proves the enthusiasm and readiness …, we have many examples of already existing co-operation between science and industry in creating these technologies”, she added.
Ms Henclewska is also convinced that “the Polish space sector will become a driving force for a modern economy and the building of a competitive advantage for a modern industry, which will in turn result in the creation of new jobs for highly qualified young people.”
The Mayor of Gdańsk, Paweł Adamowicz, pointed out that by locating the headquarters of the Polish Space Agency in Gdańsk, parliament has proved that the development of Poland cannot be centred only around Warsaw. “In future, it would be worth equipping such metropolitan cities as Wrocław, Katowice or Łodz with offices or central agencies, or indeed even moving them there, because this will be of benefit to the development of Warsaw and the entire country, and to the circulation of the elite”, he explained.
Prof. Andrzej Stepnowski from Gdańsk University of Technology announced that there exist over 20 companies in the Pomeranian region which operate exclusively in the space sector and which have implemented, or are in the process of implementing, over a dozen or more projects for ESA. He pointed out that POLSA inspires and brings together Pomeranian research in this domain.
During a press briefing,the chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Industry, Research and Energy Prof. Jerzy Buzek stated that by being part of ESA and establishing its own Agency Poland “faces completely new possibilities”. “This is the Galileo programme (EU satellite navigation programme – PAP), which will have 30 satellites in total (…) and the Copernicus programme (European Earth monitoring programme – PAP), which is of great importance in each branch of industry and research”, he went on to explain. “This is nearly 2 billion euros for space research by 2020, with nearly 320,000 people working in the EU on space programmes, to the value of 50-60 billion euros, so we are also becoming part of this enormous European programme”, he added. "And this is why our participation makes a great deal of sense, here we are entering the scope of interest of other member states and we are drawing closer to what is happening out there”, he said.
Poland became the 20th ESA member state on 19 November 2012. During the briefing Prof. Banaszkiewicz announced that Poland’s annual ESA contribution stands at 30 million euros. The legislation concerning the Polish Space Agency came into operation on 7 February this year. The Agency’s main role is to co-ordinate the activities of the Polish space sector, now scattered around various institutions and departments, to identify interesting and significant applications and create its own laboratories. The Agency’s budget for 2015 is 10 million zloty.
Translation: Magda Moran and Sean Moran