Advanced Television

ESA secures IRIS2 investment

March 28, 2024

By Chris Forrester

The European Space Agency (ESA) has secured €900 million in funding for the European Commission’s (EC) IRIS2 proposed mega-constellation (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite). ESA is the multi-orbit project’s technical manager.

ESA delivered a briefing on March 27 and its director of telecommunications and navigation, Javier Benedicto, explained that the final bid from the SpaceRise consortium (which comprises most of Europe’s main satellite industry members) is still being evaluated.

Once that evaluation is determined then the EC would sign a 12-year contract with SpaceRise and call upon investment from ley satellite operators SES, Eutelsat and Hispasat amongst other members of the consortium.

However, there are concerns about the complexity of the likely contract and the investment needed. Also in the decision mix is the upcoming ‘Space Law’ from the European Union’s Commission which is planned to encourage sustainability. But full details are currently scarce other than the main aims which are that the “Space Law will set common rules related to space activities, focusing on 3 aspects: safety, resilience and sustainability, bringing legal certainty and stimulating innovation.”

An important element is to avoid collision of spacecraft while in orbit. The Space Law proposals were due in March.

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