European Union Space Programmes

Between 2014 and 2020, the European Union (EU) is investing over 12B EUR in the following four pillars:

European Global Navigation Satellite Systems (Galileo/EGNOS)

Galileo is the European Union's Global Navigation Satellite System (EGNSS). Together with the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS), Galileo provides accurate positioning and timing information. Galileo is a programme under civilian control and its data can be used for a broad range of applications. It is autonomous but also interoperable with existing satellite navigation systems. By 2020, the Galileo constellation will consist of 30 satellites.


What is Galileo?


The other EU space flagship programme Copernicus is the world's most comprehensive Earth observation system. Based on satellite and in situ (non-space) data it delivers near real-time information on the state of our planet. The services can also be used for local and regional needs to sustainably manage the environment we live in. Copernicus addresses six main thematic areas:

  • atmosphere
  • marine
  • land
  • climate
  • emergency
  • security

The access to Copernicus data is open and free. By 2021, the Copernicus constellation will consist of six different Sentinel satellite families.


What is the Copernicus Programme?

Space Surveillance and Tracking

Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST) is the ability to detect and predict the movement of space objects in orbit. At present following five European member states are working together in a consortium to develop an European SST capability:

  • France
  • Germany
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

This includes networking ground-based and / or space-based sensors, processing and analysing SST data and providing SST services to the EU user community.

Austria participates in the establishment of a SST capability through the Satellite Laser Ranging Station at the Lustbühel Observatory in Graz / Styria, which is one of the world leading stations in this area.

Satellite Laser Ranging (SLR)/Austrian Academy of Science website

Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU research and innovation programme ever with nearly 80B EUR of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020).

Space research supported by Horizon 2020 focuses on increasing competitiveness of the European space sector by accompanying research on European programmes in the areas of satellite navigation, Earth observation, and protection of the European space assets.

The programme enables the European space research community to develop innovative space technologies and operational concepts "from idea to demonstration in space", and to use space data for scientific, public, or commercial purposes.