The European Commission (EC) announced this Wednesday an investment of 300 million euros in the space sector, to support “the growth of small and medium-sized companies”. The fund also intends to promote “pioneering innovation in the space industry”.

The funds, announced during the European Space Conference, are the result of a partnership between the community executive and the European Investment Fund and will be allocated to two space technology funds: Orbital Ventures and Primo Space.

As the Commission explains, Orbital Ventures, based in Luxembourg, focuses on space technologies ranging from “geolocation” and “Earth observation” to “robotics” and “satellites”. Primo Space, on the other hand, “the first technology transfer fund only focused on space technologies”, is in charge of “investing in projects or companies in an initial state” and promotes the “commercialization of pioneering innovations in the European space industry”.

During the European Space Conference, the Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, highlighted the “important role” that small and medium-sized companies in the space sector have for the European Union’s economic recovery, stressing that they are “a priority for European investment ”.

Fund brings Europe closer to “the goal of the digital transition”

The Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, welcomed the investment announced and said that it brings Europe “closer to the goal of the digital transition”. “Promoting competition in the space industry is an essential element for the recovery of the sector”, he said, referring that the investments “support the development of European startups in the Space sector and shows that the European space businesses are growing”.

This Tuesday, Manuel Heitor, Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, highlighted the focus of the Portuguese presidency of the Council of the European Union in the space area: creating a “new space for people”. “Our main objective is the mobilization of each actor, both institutional actors and the European business sector, in a European space approach that is oriented towards our citizens”, he explained.

This “European people-oriented approach” will bring together public and private sectors, industries, national space agencies and the European Space Agency. According to Manuel Heitor, the strategy aims to create “new and better jobs”, adding that the development of new space capabilities will lead to the creation of business activities in several European regions, including the Azores.

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