10 April 2009. Today ESPI released a report on space-based services. The study investigates the main challenges to the development of space-based services in Europe and suggests relevant actions to decision-makers in order to fully exploit the potential of the well-developed European space-based infrastructure.
Over the past decades, Europe has made considerable investments in the development of its space infrastructure which is now substantial. European institutions and citizens, however, are still far from being able to take full advantage of what this infrastructure could offer them. With the growing political dimension of Europe, closer relations between ESA and the European Union, and the search for new sources of funding for space and new applications, European space activities have entered a new era and the investments made in the infrastructure could be further optimised. The focus is shifting from space systems to their applications and there is now strong political interest in the development of services, which could support European policies and further contribute to the European citizens’ welfare. Recent European initiatives to foster the development of new space-based services have nevertheless yielded limited results. Publicly funded programmes have led to the successful demonstration of new applications but most of these applications have not turned into operational services.
The study “Space-based Services in Europe – Addressing the Transition between Demonstration and Operation”, led by ESPI Research Fellow Charlotte Mathieu, investigates the main challenges to the transition from demonstration to operation in Europe, analyses the need for public action and suggests to European decision-makers relevant measures that could ensure that European citizens fully benefit from a well-developed space infrastructure. It emphasises the need for coordinated actions of all the stakeholders in Europe and for leadership in order to achieve a significant, large-scale development of space-based services in Europe, which could enable European decision-makers and citizens to reap the full benefits of their space infrastructure.