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Business to Diplomacy event focusing on new opportunities for the Slovenian space sector

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tanja Fajon, State Secretary for Economic Development and Technology, Matevž Frangež, and State Secretary for Defence, Rudi Medved, addressed the Business to Diplomacy (B2D) event entitled “Slovenia in Space” in the Noordung Centre. The purpose of the event was to help create new connections and opportunities for cooperation at the national and international level, to present the activities and achievements of the Slovenian space sector to representatives of foreign embassies and the Slovenian economic and defence attachés.

The Slovenian space sector began to develop intensively after the signing of the Association Agreement Between the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and the European Space Agency in 2016. Since then, Slovenia has taken several important steps: 1) Slovenia already has three of its own satellites in orbit (TRISAT and TRISAT-R primed by the University of Maribor in cooperation with the Slovenian company SkyLabs, and NEMO-HD of the Slovenian Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies SPACE-SI); 2) Slovenia has become the 100th member of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space; 3) the “human centrifuge” has been launched at the Planica Nordic Centre.

Minister Fajon outlined the support being provided by the Ministry and the diplomatic sector for the development and further penetration of the Slovenian space industry into foreign markets. "Through active economic diplomacy, opening new diplomatic missions, and strengthening the presence of economic advisers and cooperation with scientific institutions and companies, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue to support Slovenian companies in their internationalisation to the greatest extent possible", the minister pledged.

"In 2021, the space sector recorded growth of 9 per cent and its value has already exceeded USD 450 billion. The Slovenian space sector follows this trend. We take pride in our companies and institutions for being pioneers in many fields and for competing successfully with bigger and more established players in the space sector. To this end, the Ministry will continue to support their efforts for further development", State Secretary Frangež stressed. Given the growing threats we are facing, the role of space technology is becoming increasingly important. "With its video streaming, the Slovenian satellite NEMO-HD provides important data on the possibilities that satellite technology offers in the field of security. Also, the TRISAT and TRISAT-R satellites provide a range of innovative solutions that will contribute to the further development of space technology in Europe", the State Secretary added.

The space sector can also contribute significantly to the areas of security and defence, which is of particular importance at the present time. "We need to be more aware of the importance of space technology and today's event is a big step in that direction. The EU and NATO are also stepping up coordinated action to improve the regulation of this area and to prevent the militarisation of space," State Secretary Medved stated.

Head of the Slovenian delegation at the European Space Agency (ESA), Tanja Permozer, pointed out, among other things, that the number and quality of Slovenian companies and research institutions actively engaged in the space sector are rapidly increasing, as is also the range of their products and services. Slovenia participates in four ESA's optional programmes: General Support Technology, Earth Observation, Human and Robotic Exploration, and Science, with the possibility of joining additional programmes in the future.

The "Slovenia in Space" event was held in the Noordung Centre, which connects science, culture and space companies active in the field of space, and plays an important role in promoting and bringing space closer to the general public and young people. The event was attended by numerous representatives of foreign embassies and consulates accredited to Slovenia, the Slovenian economic and defence attachés (the latter online), and Slovenian companies and research institutions active in the space sector.

Some of the most prominent companies and institutions presented their work at the event: Centre of Excellence for Space Sciences and Technologies SPACE-SI, SkyLabs and the University of Maribor, Dewesoft, Sinergise, Balmar, Jožef Stefan Institute, GeoCodis, C-Astral, Instrumentation Technologies, Elep Electronics, Paradigma Tech, Arctur, FerroČrtalič and Robotina.