In recent years, the global space industry has evolved from a primary province of government agencies looking to make their mark into fertile ground for private investment and business. Billionaires like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson and governments have doubled to pump money into satellites, asteroid mining and space tourism. To Euronews Next about what the agency is doing to boost the European sector.
Stimulating the European Space Industry
He says his vision is to make Europe the most attractive place to start and launch new space companies. “In the last 20 years, the space race has become more than just a geopolitical race,” explained del Monte socio-economically and from a fundamental investment perspective. To this end, ESA is making efforts to ensure that Europe has the right ecosystem to stimulate the start-up sector of the European industry, focusing on three main areas.
Talent, capital and speed
First, Europe needs to nurture its native science and engineering talent to ensure it stays on the continent. “Europe is rich in brilliant engineers and scientists, but we must ensure that the new generations of entrepreneurs stay in Europe,” said del Monte. “We are increasingly expanding our network of incubators and business accelerators because we want these scientists and engineers to become successful entrepreneurs,” he said. Capital to put their companies in orbit so Europe can claim a larger share of the global space economy.
According to Del Monte, challenges include the risk-averse nature of European capital investments and limited awareness of the opportunities presented by the growing space economy. “We have started a partnership with the European Investment Fund and the European Commission. Increasing the number of venture capital and private equity funds investing in funds,” he said. Finally, the process needs to be accelerated and simplified to make the European space industry competitive. “To attract investors, our projects need to be much faster,” del Monte said. To achieve this, ESA is working to improve the speed of its acquisition process and introduce new approaches better suited to new types of space development.
“This requires a reconfiguration of the role of space agencies and institutions. To go from a pure research and development agency to a facilitator and accelerator, everything for space projects and space culture,” he said.