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New EU satellite system boost for secure communications

21 November 2022, 23:30 CET
New EU satellite system boost for secure communications

Sattelite communication - Image by mohamed Hassan on Pixabay

(BRUSSELS) - The EU Council and Parliament reached a provisional agreement Thursday on the setting up of a new multi-orbital constellation of satellites to enable secure communication services by 2027.

The programme sets goals for the European Union to deploy an EU satellite constellation called 'IRIS2' (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite), which will enable secure communication services by 2027.

The establishment of this constellation is expected to protect against cyberattacks and natural disasters by providing for a better connected critical infrastructure and high-speed and resilient independent satellite communication services.

The programme will provide governmental services covering critical infrastructure protection, situational awareness, and support for external actions and crisis management. All of these services will improve the EU's resilience.

The programme is also enables the provision of commercial services by the private sector, thereby contributing to the competitiveness of European industry.

The programme will enable the provision of affordable internet access everywhere in Europe and will provide secure connectivity over geographical areas of strategic interest, such as the Arctic region and Africa.

It is seen as particularly important with regard to low Earth orbits which are increasingly occupied by third-country mega-constellations, with EU operators facing challenges due to the capital-intensive nature of such projects. The secure connectivity programme is therefore important as a means of increasing the EU's resilience and its strategic autonomy in space and on the ground.

The initiative will benefit from the expertise of the European industrial space industry, both from the well-established industrial players and the New Space ecosystem. The programme builds on the GOVSATCOM component of the EU space programme. It will take into account synergies with the other components of the EU space programme, such as the Galileo (satellite navigation) and Copernicus (Earth observation) systems, as well as space situational awareness capacities.

The Commission will be the owner of tangible and intangible assets relating to the governmental infrastructure developed under this programme. The infrastructure will be procured by the Commission through a public-private partnership via competitively awarded contracts to industry. Selected contractors will develop, validate, build and deploy the EU-owned governmental infrastructure to provide strengthened governmental services. In addition, commercial infrastructure would also be used to provide governmental services as well as commercial services.

 


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