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Government adopts first Slovenian Space Strategy

At a correspondence session, the Government adopted Slovenia's first Space Strategy and the decision to apply for full membership of the European Space Agency.

The Government adopted the first Slovenian Space Strategy 2030 under the slogan “Small on Earth, Big in Space”, which sets out policies and activities to increase the competitiveness of the Slovenian space industry and establish leadership in space areas where Slovenian stakeholders excel. At the same time, the Government authorised the Minister of Economy, Tourism and Sport, Matjaž Han, to submit an application for full membership in the European Space Agency (ESA).

The space sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors, including in Slovenia. It has high multiplier effects on economic growth and employment. Due to widespread societal digitisation, the sector's activities are becoming increasingly important for people's everyday lives, and the sector brings many breakthroughs thanks to significant investments in research and development. Space technology has applications in transport, agriculture, energy, business, security, healthcare, education and many other fields. 

Application for full membership in the ESA

Slovenia carries out most of its space-related activities as an Associate Member of the ESA. Slovenia's current Association Agreement with the ESA expires at the end of 2024. Under this agreement, full membership in the ESA requires a written application one year before the expiry of the agreement. In view of the sector's success under Associate Membership, the Government authorised Minister Han to sign and submit a written application for full membership. Full membership will only be possible once all the criteria have been reviewed and approved by the ESA Council. 

Slovenian Space Strategy

The space sector and the technologies it develops offer numerous business opportunities and can make an important contribution to digitisation, the green transition and the achievement of Slovenia's long-term development and sustainability goals, both in Slovenia and globally. The Strategy thus follows the development objectives set out in the Slovenian Development Strategy 2030.

Slovenia's space sector is developing very rapidly, especially in specialised activities. Some Slovenian companies have already achieved global recognition in their niches. In 2022, the document “Analysis and Future Positioning of the Slovenian Space Ecosystem” was composed, identifying areas of excellence in the Slovenian space sector. Activities supporting these areas form the basis for the sector’s accelerated development.

The strategy is: “Slovenia's space sector strives to expand the frontiers of knowledge and innovation and inspire a green, digital, creative and sustainable future.” The resulting mission statement reads: “Slovenia, positioning itself as a dynamic space economy, aims to foster an environment facilitating innovation and technological development in order to be an important part of the global space sector. Within this sector, the government, academia, and private businesses are working in concert to raise the profile of their potential and competences on the international stage, including through the use of local expertise.”

The Slovenian Space Strategy’s ambitious vision and mission have been translated into a series of long-term objectives, which form five strategic pillars to support the sector’s development.

Three pillars are designed to develop the programme priority areas:

  • enkindle and develop space technologies and R&D, including exploiting new capabilities in satellite communications on Earth and beyond;
  • broaden participation in responsible international space exploration and research efforts, further developing knowledge and technologies enabling human and robotic exploration missions;
  • foster the development and uptake of space applications for a stronger commercial, sustainable and creative future, leveraging next-gen technologies.

The other two pillars are aimed at creating the right conditions for the space sector’s further development:

  • promoting education in science, technology, engineering and maths among future generations;
  • stimulating entrepreneurship and university and RTO spinoffs through dedicated space innovation programmes.

The selected pillars are based on the optional ESA programmes Slovenia is currently participating in. The decision for these programmes, which was endorsed by the ESA Council at Ministerial level in November 2022, is based on the expressed interest, potential, competences and needs of Slovenian companies and research institutions. Key to implementing the Strategy are ESA programme activities, through which its effectiveness is monitored.

Given the sector’s extraordinary dynamism, the Ministry will periodically review the strategy and adapt it to changing circumstances as necessary.

Source: Ministry of the Economy, Tourism and Sport