European Commission proposes satellite-based connectivity system and EU approach on space traffic management

The European Commission has proposed two space-related initiatives to support ‘a more digital and resilient Europe’. The first is a proposal for a Regulation outlining an EU space-based secure communication system meant to (a) ensure the long-term availability of worldwide uninterrupted access to secure and cost-effective satellite communication services, and (b) allow for the provision of commercial services by the private sector, to enable access to advanced, reliable, and fast connections to citizens across Europe. It is estimated that the total cost for implementing the system will amount to €6 billion, with funding expected from EU’s budget, member states, and contributions from the European Space Agency (ESA). The second initiative – in the form of a Communication – proposed an EU approach on space traffic management (STM) aimed at ‘promoting the safe, secure, and sustainable use of space, while preserving the EU’s strategic autonomy and industry’s competitiveness’. The approach is built on four pillars: (a) assessing the STM civilian and military requirements and impacts for the EU; (b) strengthening EU’s technological capability to identify and track spacecraft and space debris; (c) setting out the appropriate normative and legislative framework; and (d) establishing international partnerships on STM and engaging at a multilateral level.