EU has what it takes to be global space player

Investing in space technology is costly but it is not an extravagance, it is a necessity, says Jerzy Buzek.

By Jerzy Buzek

10 Mar 2016

Smoke detectors, scratch-resistant glass, wireless headphones, water filters, disposable nappies - all of these were first developed for NASA's Apollo programme.

Today, they make our everyday life a bit easier. For each dollar of the $25bn (€23bn) spent on this space programme, $14 (€13) were injected back into the US economy.

The European space sector provides over 320,000 jobs and some €52bn to the EU economy.


It brings security, competitiveness and innovation, with wide spill-over effects. Europe has what it takes to become a global space player.

Copernicus and Galileo open new doors for the private sector, including in downstream innovation. Integrating space and security, in dual-use technologies but also as policy fields, should be an overarching umbrella for the EU to become a true 'space power'. Being a global space player costs money.

But lack of ambition also has serious costs - dependence, less security, brain drain, loss of economic opportunities and industrial capacity. The financial commitment required for space it is not expenditure, it is investment.

Leonardo Da Vinci famously noted that, "he who is bound to a star does not turn back". To succeed here on earth, we must reach for the stars - metaphorically and literally.


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