“Utilizing the existing and emerging potential of Nordic-Baltic dimension in critical satellite technologies and applications” – Grant N° 242427 (FP7-SPACE, 2010-2012)
In a joint effort to stimulate national space activities, space organisations in Estonia (Enterprise Estonia, Invent Baltics), Latvia (Ventspils High Technology Park), Lithuania (Kaunas University) and Poland (Wasat) joined forces with experienced space organisations such as Swedish Space Corporation and International Space University to propose the ambitious NordicBaltSat project (NBS) to the EU 7TH Framework Programme.
The NordicBaltSat project has been an effort to jointly and simultaneously facilitate the development of space sectors in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. The main objectives of the project were to identify existing and potential space organisations in niches where they have positions of relative strength, to raise awareness of the space sector in the business communities, among politicians and local decision makers and to educate them on how the European space sector works.
NordicBaltSat produced the following outcomes:
- On the technology side, based on ESA’s “Critical Space Technologies“ approach, R&D areas and industrial potential in the emerging space countries was charted, which in turn served as a foundation for a Joint Technology Programme (JTP) for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland (ELLP). In the JTP the existing technologies were matched to critical technologies as identified by EDA/ESA/EU, ESA programmes in general, the IAP and PECS in particular, and national space policies. From the results of the analysis a roadmap was prepared that suggests a common path for the ELLP space organisations towards the larger European space framework as a grouping of attractive partners. The results of the JTP indicated that the ELLP region can contribute greatly to the European space programme, especially if more targeted investments were made through coordination and collaboration.
- On the space awareness side, it became evident from the survey results that the benefits from space activities are not well known by the general public or policy makers. This, in order to gain broad support, called for an awareness activity which was executed within the project in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. In that respect, the Space Awareness Action Plan (SAAP) was another key deliverable in the NBS project. The SAAP determined the future steps required to develop sustainable and effective space awareness activities in the ELLP region.
- To support the process of raising space capabilities in the ELLP region, training courses for entrepreneurs were organised. The first phase of trainings took a wider approach by covering topics like how to do business with ESA and explaining the tendering process in ESA and possibilities for SMEs. The second phase of trainings went far beyond by covering technical aspects of cooperation in the space field in general and with ESA in more detail.
- Another synergy was noted in the individual mentoring programmes, which deserved a high satisfaction level from the entrepreneurs’ point of view. As a result of a cross-border mentorship programme for the ELLP region, altogether 20 mentor-mentee pairs were established and underlying agreements were signed.
To conclude the activities of NBS, a conference “Broadening the Base of Europe’s Space Community” was organised in February 2012 in Tallinn with the attendance of 135 participants. Since the conference was mainly targeted to the ELLP region, more than 80% of the participants came from ELLP. The conference focused on how to prepare Central and Eastern European countries, specifically companies from and the public sector in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to cooperate with the European space industry and space organisations.
More information about the project and its results can be found here: http://www.nordicbaltsat.eu.
The NordicBaltSat project consortium included:
- Enterprise Estonia
- International Space University
- Kaunas University of Technology
- Swedish Space Corporation
- Ventspils High Technology Park
- Wasat Sp. Z.o.o
Senior consultant Tõnis Eerme