articles | 29 May 2018

Cyprus gaining ground in space tech services

Cyprus is gaining ground in the field of space technology services, and had already granted ten licences to organisations to launch telecommunication satellites using the space that Cyprus has secured through the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The director of the department of electronic communications at the ministry of transport, communications and works, Georgios Komodromos, told CNA Cyprus’ geographic position allows the island to ‘see’ satellites located above Asia and Australia and collect data where other earth stations in Europe have no communication.

He said Cyprus the business model attracts organisations that ask to be licensed to send satellites to space, by using the rights of the Republic that were secured by the island through the ITU. Any country that secures an area must launch a satellite within seven years, otherwise the right it has secured is lost.

Cyprus has to date 40 areas in space and has so far issued ten licences, noting that many countries in the world have issued only one license. In this respect, Cyprus is beginning to gain on importance, he said.

The rights granted by ITU to a country do not concern areas in space, only above that country, but anywhere.

Already, he said, there are three satellites in space which use the rights of the Republic of Cyprus, two of them are the Hellas Sat and one is EUTELSAT. The latter, he said, is one of the biggest four organisations in the world with 40 satellites already launched.

Asked about the benefits for Cyprus, he said that to date, Cyprus has an economic benefit of one million euro per year, which, he said, is expected to multiply after the launch of new satellites.

He also said that in addition to the economic benefits, Cyprus gains on prestige and becomes known as a country which is engaged in space technology services.

Noting that in the next 2-3 years more satellites are expected to be launched using the rights of the Republic of Cyprus, he said that “we hope that this sector has a great prospect and will literally flourish.”

As regards earth observation, Komodromos told CNA that Cyprus has a strategic geographic position because it can ‘see’ satellites that are above other continents while ground stations in other European countries cannot be connected.

“Cyprus, being the most southeastern part of Europe, can also see satellites located above Asia and Australia and gather data where other earth stations in Europe have no communication,” he said.

Komodromos said this strategic advantage is increasingly being promoted in order to attract infrastructure to Cyprus from the European Space Agency.

Referring to the MoUs signed recently between Cyprus, Greece and Israel, Komodromos said that they concern the fields of information and communication technologies and space technology. The MoUs were signed during the high level meeting of the three countries that took place in Nicosia.

Noting that Israel was very advanced in space technologies, Komodromos said Cyprus could benefit from that knowledge.

The next step, he said, is for the three countries to set up teams to identify areas on which they could work for the benefit of all three countries.

He recalled that Cyprus is one step away from full membership in the European Space Agency. Komodromos said Cypriots were very interested in participating in ESA competitions and had submitted 28 proposals.

Only seven proposals will be funded, while ten proposals were eligible for funding.

Source: Cyprus Mail

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