The EU is to set up a €1bn startup fund for space technology as part of a major overall of its space policy.
This is part of a €13.2bn budget to drive major acceleration in space system development and deployment, from quantum and processing technology to a new launching rocket.
“This is the largest budget ever at EU level for Space,” said Commissioner Thierry Breton at the 13th European Space Conference. This is alongside current funding in the European Space Agency (ESA) and by member states, but will see a shakeup in Ariane and possibly in Airbus.
“We have agreed on the new EU space programme, the first of its kind for Europe,” said Breton. “Let me be crystal clear on one point: the European Space policy will continue to rely on ESA and its unique technical, engineering and science expertise. ESA will continue to be the European Agency for Space matters,” he said.
A key part of the strategy is the €1bn fund for startups called Cassini.
“I wish to position Europe as THE hub of space entrepreneurship in the world,” said Breton. “We do not have a coherent approach, rather a scattered and inefficient one. We are duplicating efforts by not being coordinated, we are wasting resources by not being organised. We are missing disruptive technologies by not working together.”
Cassini will cover the whole innovation cycle, from business idea to industrialisation, building on the €100m Space Equity Pilot launched last year.
“With Cassini, we want to stimulate more VC funds to actively invest in space companies in Europe, but also to get other industries to invest into space technologies and solutions,” he said. “We want also to organise a true European space incubator, relying on the strengths of all the actors but putting them into a coherent and integrated network.”