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Poland’s Space Market

At the January 2023 conference on Poland’s 10 years of membership in the European Space Agency (ESA), Minister of Economic Development and Technology, Waldemar Buda, said that the aim for Poland is to rely to a larger extent on knowledge, innovation, and technical progress, and that the space sector might be a building block to a new model of development for the Polish economy. 

The Polish space sector has been developing rapidly since Poland’s accession to the European Space Agency in 2012. It has paved the way for Polish companies and research centers to develop space and satellite technologies. The Polish space sector now consists of almost 400 entities (companies and institutes), 300 of which actively cooperate with ESA, and 150 of which participate directly in projects. The  space sector employees almost 12,000 in Poland. Polish companies are especially active in areas such as robotics, automation, and mechatronics. After 10 years in ESA, Polish companies have the experience and competences to join the technological race. 

Poland has participated in various ESA projects, and in recent years Polish engineers and scientists participated in many European missions such as CASSINI-HUYGENS, ROSSETTA, BEPICOLOMBO or SOLAR ORBITER. Planned missions include JUICE, EarthCARE, EUCLID, PROBA-3, Extremely Large Telescope, Electra, Plato, Ariel, Comet Interceptor and Athena. In October 2022 an ESA Business Incubation Center opened in Poland, which will support companies with business ideas related to the space sector. 

In November 2022, Polish scientist Sławosz Uznański was selected to join ESA Astronaut Reserve. It is an important sign of recognition of Polish activity in the space sector. 

The Polish Space Agency is supporting the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology in preparations for a National Space Program, which will determine the budget and the development objectives for the space sector in the coming years. While waiting for the adoption of the program, the Polish Space Agency is using its relatively small budget, funds from the ESA contribution, and EU funds to implement pilot programs. The scientific community and the public administration are also working on a bill on activities in space.

Poland has ambitious plans for the future: the Polish Space Agency will continue to build the National Satellite Information System – a system of diversified satellite data available on one platform. Poland also actively participates in ESA’s Earth Observation program. Additionally, Poland will focus on space security. It has a network of telescopes on various continents allowing it to observe the situation on the orbit. There are also plans to construct a communication satellite with a Polish transponder, which would assure connectivity. Poland will continue to develop its competences in valves and thrusters for European rockets. 

The Polish Space Agency has also been cooperating with partners from the United States, which resulted in the signing of a Letter of Intent with Virgin Orbit in March 2022. In November 2022, a delegation from the Polish Space Agency along with Polish scientists and representatives of Polish space companies took part in A-TEAM workshops organized by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The aim of the visit was also to determine Poland’s participation in planned NASA missions carried out by JPL, as well as potential support of this institution for future Polish national missions. These actions are a result of the signing of the Artemis Accords in October 2021, and significantly contribute to the deepening of contacts between Poland and the United States, paving the way for future cooperation with U.S. space industry and opportunities for U.S. companies.

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