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Slovakia as a centre of the discussion on the new trends in the space economy

The third annual International Emerging Space Conference took place on November 30. It was organized by the industrial unit of the Slovak Space Agency under the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO). The online conference attracted more than 400 participants and provided a platform to present Slovakia’s potential in the space industry. Slovakia is succeeding in improving its position in this sector.

Representatives of the Slovak and global space sector from various areas shared their experiences, advice and visions in three panel discussions. The discussions focused on factors which countries motivate the comprehensive development of their space ecosystem, the challenges facing startups in entering the space sector, as well as the new technologies and future key markets that arise from their use.

One of the leading discussants was Clay Mowry, vice president of the American space company Blue Origin and the newly elected president of the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) – a key global association for space agencies, companies, associations and research institutions. The organizers were excited to welcome Josef Aschbacher – Director-General of the European Space Agency (ESA), Simonetta di Pippo – Director of the United Nations Office for Space Affairs, and Róbert Šimončič – Director-General of SARIO as hosts for the opening session.

According to Géraldine Naja, Director of Commercialization, Industry and Procurement of the ESA, Slovakia is currently the cooperating state of ESA, within which several Slovak researchers and graduate trainees already work. Given the ever-increasing number of very successful Slovak companies active in the space sector, ESA looks forward to the next level of their cooperation. The next step in Slovakia’s integration into ESA is an associated membership. It will bring new opportunities for Slovakia, including the possibility of direct involvement of Slovak companies in European supply chains.

The industrial branch of the Slovak Space Office (under SARIO) has developed several successful projects and activities since the beginning of its creation in May this year. Slovak Space Office became a member of the European space association EURISY and the global association IAF, organized the European space hackathon CASSINI and presented the Slovak space industry at the EXPO Dubai and the International Astronautical Congress (IAC). In recent days, it has also successfully launched the Slovak Space Incubator, which will connect startups and promising young talents with research institutions, companies, accelerators and VC funds, as well as other local and foreign partner entities.