Baltics in Space
Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association has prepared the first draft of Latvian Space Technology Development Strategy.
This document provides a wide range insight into the current situation in the Field of space technology in the world, as well as in Latvia. The document sets several goals that has to be reached until Latvia becomes a member of European Space Agency (ESA) in 2018.
Total turnover of the global space industries in 2012, has reached EUR 223,95 billion, which is higher than, for example, national budget of Norway in 2012.
The Latvian civil space technology-related industries are represented by four associations: Latvian Electrical Engineering and Electronics Industry Association (LEtERA), Latvian Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industry Association (LAKIFA), Latvian Information and Communications Technology Association (LIKTA) and Association of Mechanical Engineering and Metalworking Industries of Latvia (MASOC).
It is worth noting that Estonia is a major step ahead of Latvia. In 2007, Estonia signed a cooperation agreement with ESA, but in May 2013, launched its first satellite “Estcube-1”. At the same time, in cooperation with foreign partners, Latvians are just working on the design of the first satellite “Venta – 1”.
Latvia’s cooperation agreement with ESA was signed in March 2013. This agreement basically allows Latvian companies to participate in specially announced procurements (100% ESA funding), according to ESA priorities:
- Space science. Astronomy, astrophysics, solar system and space exploration;
- Earth observation. Environmental monitoring, meteorology, atmospheric physics and geodesy;
- Telecommunications and satellite navigation, service demonstrations;
- Micro-gravity. Space biology, medicine, material science;
- Ground segment. Engineering and applications.
Specifically perspective space technology market areas in Latvia are: Earth observation, natural resource management, monitoring of land areas, security and military monitoring, professional navigation and road navigation.
Strategy document also provides an extensive list of the market areas where Latvian companies and research institutes have the best potential. The document also provides a list with achievements of Latvian companies in the primary space technology market.
The document says that Latvia will be a country with a highly developed space technology sector, in which the knowledge, technology, and human resources will be an important catalyst for economic development. It also provides medium-term operational goals (national priorities), setting the main goal – to create a basis for a long-term development of the space technology, by improving competencies and / or infrastructure of management, education, research and manufacturing.