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European space agencies


In Austria, space activities are managed by the agency FFG (Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft – Austrian Research Promotion Agency). The agency was founded on September 1 2004. The purpose of FFG is to support research, technologies and innovation in favour of Austria. All FFG activities are focused on strengthening Austria as a research and innovation centre in the world market. This aims to help to ensure long-term availability of high quality jobs and sustain the prosperity of one of the world's richest nations.

The agency is governed by the state and it is represented by the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology and the Ministry of Economy, Family and Youth. Its governing bodies are the Supervisory Board and Managing Directors. Space area is financed by the Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology and the budget was 60.75 million Euros in 2009.


Belgium significantly contributed to the establishment of ESA. In Belgium, comparing to most of its European partners in space is the absence of a National space agency with National space programme.

The authority responsible for space area is BSPO (Belgian Federal Science Policy Office) and within BSPO the Department of Space Research and Applications (DSRA). DSRA has about 20 employees who also consult different matters with other public authorities interested in space and increase public awareness on space activities. Belgium expenditure on space activities was 165 million Euros in 2009.


In Denmark, the area of space activities falls within the scope of the DTU Space (National Space Institute) at the Technical University of Denmark. The agency is focused on research within Earth and space physics at the highest international level. It also serves as a knowledge centre for space instrumentation and technologies.

Until December 31 2006, DNSC (Danish National Space Centre) was a research centre under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. On January 1 2007, DNSC merged with the Technical University of Denmark together with four other government research institutions and became one of its 23 institutes. Budget of the agency was 12.3 million Euros in 2009 (the overall budget of Denmark for space activities was 46.8 million Euros).  


In Finland, space activities are managed by the agency Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation). The agency was founded in 1983. It is the main funding organisation for research and development in Finland.
Primary objective of Tekes is to promote the technological competitiveness of the Finish industry and of the service sector in the field of technology, through cooperation with Finish companies, universities and research institutes. Tekes has a central role in technology and innovation policy making. The agency is responsible for coordinating and financing the Finish participation in ESA. The budget of the agency is about 49 million Euros. Tekes employs approximately 400 people in Finland and abroad, of whom 90 in regional Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres). Tekes headquarters is located in Helsinki.


France is one of the founders of the European Space Agency (ESA). French agency which covers space activities is called CNES (Centre national d´études spatiales). French space centre Guiana Space Center (GSC) in Kourou is the European spaceport.

The agency was founded in 1961 and it has got 4 centres (Paris, Evry, Kourou, Toulouse). There are about 2418 employees in these centres. The budget of the agency is roughly 1740 million Euros.

Main missions of the agency:

  • Access to space
  • Sustainable development
  • Civil applications
  • Security and Defence
  • Research and innovation   


In Germany, space activities are managed by the DLR (Deutches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt) which includes also German Space Agency. Germany is one of the founders of the European Space Agency (ESA). DLR has the responsibility from the German government for planning and future implementation of the German space program. It also represents Germany at the international level. It is organized as a nonprofit organization. Its basic bodies are:

  • General Assembly
  • Senate
  • Committee for Space
  • Executive Board
  • Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee   

DLR has approximately 6900 employees, 33 institutes and facilities at 13 places in Germany and 3 more out of Germany (Washington, D.C., Brussels, Paris). The budget of DLR for local research and development and other domestic operations is 770 million Euros (approximately ½ is part of DLR revenues). DLR also cares for total budget of Germany in the space area (1047 million Euros in 2009).

Main missions:

  • Exploration of Earth and Solar system
  • Research focused on environment
  • Development of environmentally friendly technologies in order to promote mobility, communication and security  


In Greece space activities are managed by the agency GSRT (General Secretariat for Research and Technology). Its role is to provide all relevant information about ESA programmes, also to encourage and facilitate the participation of Greek industry and R&D Institutions in space programmes. The agency also supports education in space activities in schools, as well as training scholarships in ESA establishments for Greek university graduates.

The contribution of Greece to the ESA mandatory activities was about 13 million Euros in 2009.


The agency, which is based in Budapest, is called Hungarian Space Office (SFO) Currently falls under the Ministry of Environment and Water.
The establishment of the agency dates back to 1992. Another important milestone is the year 2003, when close mutual cooperation was signed between the Hungarian Space Office and ESA, which should result in future Hungary's membership in ESA. In the research and technical centers of the agency work 250 employees. The main focal points for the agency are international projects.


In Ireland, space activities are managed by the Irish Governemnt's business development agency EI (Enterprise Ireland). EI manages industrial and technological development programmes related to space area. EI ensures financial contribution to the ESA which is part of the DETE (Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment) budget.
Ireland´s Space Strategy comprises two key elements:

  • Support for space-related technology development within Irish high technology companies, with a view to commercial exploitation in global, space, aerospace and telecommunications markets.
  • The development of a medium- to long-term research capability in space-related technologies.

EI has a national network of 9 regional offices throughout Ireland and over 30 international locations, facilitating access to more than 60 countries worldwide. Its headquarters is located in Dublin. Irish contribution to the ESA was 14,5 million Euros in 2009.   


In Italy, the area of space activities fall within the scope of the ASI (Agenzia spaziale Italiana – Italian Space Agency), which was founded in 1988. The mission of ASI is the promotion, development and diffusion of scientific and technologic research in the fields of space and aerospace, the coordination and management of national projects and of the participation to ESA and other international projects. It operatively provides preparation and operational performance of the National Space Plan which was approved by the government.

Each year, ASI prepares a three-year national plan in accordance with governmental guidelines. The plan is approved by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR). MIUR finances Italian Space Activities both through ASI and through Universities and research centres. International relations concerning space issues are pursued in agreement with the Ministry for the International Affairs.

Other ministries support space activities at national level (Ministry of Transport and Infrastructures, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Production Activities). ASI has its headquarters in Roma, three operational centres (Matera, Trapani, Malindi) and date centre in Frascati. Expenses on space activities were about 804 million Euros in 2009. 


In Luxemboug, space activities are managed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research in cooperation with Luxinnovation and other ministries. Luxinnovation (National Agency for Innovation and Research) was founded in 1984. The agency manages the interface between industry, the public research sector and ESA. Budget of Luxembourg in space area was 14.2 million Euros in 2009.

The agency is composed of 6 entities:

  • Ministry of the Economy and Foreign Trade
  • Ministry of Higher Education and Research
  • Ministry for the Small and Medium-sized Businesses and Tourism
  • Fedil – Business Federation Luxembourg
  • Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
  • Luxembourg Chamber of Skilled Crafts


In The Netherlands, space activities are managed by the agency NSO (Netherlands Space Office) which was founded in October 2008. The task of NSO was to develop the Netherlands´ Space Programme and to bring that programme to action. The agency is responsible for the management of national space programmes, user programmes for the application of earth observation data, national and multilateral space projects.

Main missions of the agency:

  • Communication with other space agencies like ESA, JAXA, NASA.
  • Management of national space programmes.
  • Central point for the space community in the Netherlands.
  • Contact authority between industry and science.

Dutch expenditure on space activities were about 116 million Euros in 2009. Headquarters of NSO is in Hague.


In Norway, space activities are managed by the centre Norsk Romsenter (Norwegian Space Centre – NSC). It is a government agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. NSC promotes the development, co-ordination and evaluation of national space activities as well as supports Norwegian interests in ESA. Budget of Norway for space area was about 50 million Euros in 2009. NSC is located in Oslo.

Main missions:

  • Cooperation with ESA.
  • Implementation of bilateral agreements with Canada, France, USA and Japan.
  • Support of industry in space. 



In Poland, the activities are entrusted to the Cosmic Space Research Centre (SRC), which falls directly under the Polish Academy of Sciences. The agency is not just an administrative unit, but among its activities includes research and scientific activities.

The Agency was established in 1977 and currently has approximately 150 employees. Its branches are located in Warsaw, Wroclaw and Poznan nearby. This is a non-profit organization that is funded by the Ministry of Education. Since 2002 Poland has been under the direction of SRC preparing to join the ESA.


In Portugal, space activities are managed by the agency FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia – Foundation for Science and Technology). The agency started its actvities in 1997 as a successor of JNICT (Junta Nacional de Investigação Científica e Tecnológica). Headquarters of the agency is located in Lisboa. Budget of Portugal for space activities was about 18.2 million Euros in 2009. Governing bodies are Council of Directors, Scientific Councils and Statutory Auditor.

Main activities:

  • To promote, finance, follow and evaluate science and technology institutions, programs, projects and qualification of human resources.
  • To promote and support infra-structures for scientific research and technological development.
  • To promote the diffusion of scientific and technological culture and knowledge, in particular when relevant for educational purposes in close collaboration with the agency Ciência Viva.
  • To stimulate the update, interconnection, reinforcement and availability of science and technology information sources. 


has a Romanian Space Agency (ROSA), which is in charge of cooperation with ESA. 20th January 2011, Romania signed the Treaty of Accession to the Convention with the ESA, which made them able to undertake the successful ratification of the 19th ESA Member State. ROSA is the "national representative" for negotiations with ESA and the coordinator of international space programs, in which Romania is involved, including those connected with the United Nations.
Rosa was founded in 1991, but in 1995 the Government reformed it by HG 923/1995 into an independent public institution under the Ministry for Research and Technology, but now it belongs to the Ministry of Education and Research. In the period between 2003 and 2008
participated ROSA on the ESA activities with a 10 million € budget.



Spain is one the founding states of ESA. In Spain, space activities are managed by the agency CDTI (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico Industrial – Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology) which was established in 1977. CDTI belongs to the Ministry of Science and Innovation. The main objective of CDTI is to foster Spanish industrial competitiveness, by financing national R&D projects, encouraging Spanish participation in international technological co-operation programmes and supporting technology transfer.

Main missions:

  • Multinational collaboration projects through ESA;
  • Spanish Earth Observation Programme;
  • Multinational collaboration projects for meteorological satellites through EUMETSAT;
    National projects through National Space Programme (NSP);
  • Bilateral collaboration projects with other space agencies through the bilateral programmes;
  • Collaboration with operators for commercial market.

Headquarters of CDTI is located in Madrid. It also has a lot of offices in many countries in the world: Japan, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Korea, India, Chile, USA and Morocco. The agency is manned by more than 300 employees (3/4 represents engineers and graduates). Spanish budget for space was 241.2 million Euros in 2009.


In Sweden, space activities are managed by the agency Rymdstyrelsen (Swedish National Space Board – SNSB) which was created in 1972. SNSB is responsible for national and international activities relating to space and remote sensing, primarily research and development.

Three main tasks of the agency are as follows:

  • To distribute government grants for space research, technology development and remote sensing activities.
  • To initiate research and development in Space and Remote Sensing areas.
  • To act as Swedish contact for international co-operation.

The agency has three advisory committees: Space research, Remote sensing, Industrial / technology. The overall budget of the agency is about 79.6 million Euros per year. It is a small agency with only 17 employees. 


SER (State Secretariat for Education and Research) within the Federal Department of Home Affairs is the federal government's specialised agency for national and international matters concerning general and university education, research and space. Headquarters of the secretariat is in Bern.

Main mission of the secretariat:

  • Conception and implementation of Swiss space policy;
  • Ensure participation in ESA programmes, cooperation with ESA;
  • Coordination of space policy at the national and international level.

Secretariat has 100 employees. Swiss expenditure on space was 79.6 million Euros in 2009.


In United Kingdom, space activities are managed by the UK Space Agency which was launched on 23 March 2010. The UK Space Agency replaced the British National Space Centre (BNSC) which was an umbrella organisation of 10 Government departments, research councils and non-departmental public bodies. It has become its formal successor on 1 April 2010. The agency is an authority under the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The UK Space Agency:

  • Co-ordinate UK civil space activity;
  • Support academic research;
  • Nurture the UK space industry;
  • Raise the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad;
  • Work to increase understanding of space science and its practical benefits;
  • Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers.

The UK Space Agency is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions. The UK space expenditure is about 300 million Euros yearly.

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2015 Ministry of Transport, ITS, Space Activities and R&D Department 

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