Europes’s GSA becomes EUSPA for stronger space role

May 12, 2021  - By

EUSPA logoA new space agency launched in Europe today, taking the place of the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and adding responsibilities to encourage Europe’s space enterprises.

The European Union Agency for the Space Program (EUSPA) marks the start of a new era for European Union space, according to an agency statement. EUSPA will build on the legacy of the GSA, which was established to promote use of Galileo and EGNOS, with additional responsibilities to create even more opportunities from space for European Union citizens and its economy.

An April 27 space regulation established EUSPA. Under the new space regulation, EUSPA’s mandate includes promoting Galileo and EGNOS, but with increased responsibilities, including their service provision and operational security. The agency also will coordinate the user-related aspects of government satellite communication in close collaboration with Member States and other entities.

Including Copernicus

Rodrigo da Costa, executive director of the European GNSS Agency. (Photo: GSA)

Rodrigo da Costa, executive director, EUSPA (Photo: EUSPA)

EUSPA is also responsible for the development of downstream markets and fostering of innovation based on Galileo, EGNOS, and now also commercial uses of Copernicus (Europe’s Earth observation satellite program), leveraging funding mechanisms such as Fundamental Elements and Horizon Europe.

EUSPA is also responsible for security accreditation of all the components of the EU Space Program. The European Commission may also decide to entrust the agency with other tasks.

“More and more, our economies, our society and our safety depend on space,” said EUSPA Executive Director Rodrigo da Costa, former director of GSA. “Europe has incredible opportunities ahead that cannot be missed. By creating EUSPA, the European Union will further increase the return on investment made by EU citizens in the EU Space Program by strengthening its contribution to the priorities of the union. We will achieve this primarily by leveraging synergies between the various program components — particularly navigation, Earth observation and secure communications — to drive innovation across a broad range of sectors.”

In particular, bringing management of downstream and combined applications based on Galileo, EGNOS and Copernicus under the umbrella of one agency will make it possible to leverage synergies, according to the agency statement.  “On their own, these technologies can play a key role supporting a digital and green transformation, but leveraging their synergetic and combined use will facilitate the generation of innovative solutions that bring a higher societal impact,” the statement read.

Focus on security

“The teams of committed professionals we have in place at our sites in Europe — from the EGNOS center in Toulouse to the European GNSS Service Centre in Spain and the Galileo Reference Centre in the Netherlands — will continue to ensure the high quality, robustness and reliability of EUSPA’s service provision,” reads the statement. “This will be backed up Galileo security monitoring centers in France and in Spain, and the industrial teams managed by EUSPA in the Galileo control centers in Germany and Italy, along with facilities around the world.”

In addition, the Security Accreditation Board will continue to initiate and monitor implementation of security requirements to ensure a robust and uniform level of security for the entire EU Space Program.

“The new agency has a core role in the security accreditation of all the components of the EU Space Program,” said Bruno Vermeire, chair of EUSPA’s Security Accreditation Board.

Looking to the future

While EUSPA’s mission has expanded, its core aim remains the same – to link EU investment in space to the needs of users in the European Union and around the world.

“The agency remains committed to its traditional users and will continue to deliver the high level of GNSS services that users have come to rely on,” the agency stated. Copernicus and satellite communications will also benefit from the former GSA’s user-oriented focus and “the experience it has gained in developing markets for Galileo and EGNOS.”

Fucino, Italy, hosts a Galileo Control Centre. (Image: Telespazio/ESA)

Fucino, Italy, hosts a Galileo Control Centre. (Image: Telespazio/ESA)

About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.