Austria in Space - Strategy of the BMVIT for Austrian Space Activities

Modern space technologies have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Television, telecommunications, navigation and weather forecasts rely on satellites. The importance of satellite-based information and services for many sociopolitical priority areas, such as climate research and monitoring, weather forecasting, and transport is becoming increasingly clear.

Publisher: BMVIT
English, 48 pages

Content Description

The reasons for undertaking space activities have expanded since satellites first started to be launched: in recent years strong user-oriented considerations have been added to the scientific, political and strategic motivations. Space systems that previously were mainly addressed to scientific users are now provided to operational user groups, such as satellite communication, meteorology, satellite navigation, climate monitoring and land use. The operational and sustainable provision of satellite infrastructure raises new questions as to its use.

At the same time, the international environment is changing: new, emerging powers such as China and India are pushing into the field. Space powers such as the U.S. and Russia are redefining their priorities. The economic, scientific and geopolitical environment is changing. Europe is realigning its space sector in this new environment: the European Union has put space on its agenda. The Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force in December 2009, specifies a shared competence for space between the European Union and its member states and specifically notes the importance of ESA in this triangle.

After a long history of developing the space expertise of industry and research institutes in Austria, impressively demonstrated by the Austrian Ministry for Transport Innovation and Technology, bmvit, in its recent publication on the overview of Austrian space industry and research (, the future development of Austrian space activities has been charted through a robust dialogue among many players within the space industry and research bodies, the Research Promotion Agency FFG, and with the ministries and institutions relevant to space activities, resulting in the following agreed objectives:

  1. Being an Internationally Recognized and Visible Partner in Europe
  2. Strengthening the Competitiveness of the Austrian Space Sector
  3. Orientation towards Application Potentials of Satellite-based Data
  4. Providing the Bases for Austrian Space Activities

The above objectives inspired the elaboration of Austria’s positions in the negotiations on the European Space Policy and in the preparation of a European industrial policy, and are guiding policy on the retention of a competitive Austrian space sector and its use of European space infrastructure.

Moreover, the objectives facilitate clear, transparent and efficient organisation in terms of cooperation and coordination, monitoring and evaluation, programmatic long-term planning, implementation of international space law, and regulatory support of the space sector in Austria, and the appropriate involvement of the various stakeholder groups.

The objectives enable a targeted programmatic orientation of BMVIT space activities on the following topics: ensuring sufficient funding, the programmatic setting of priorities in ESA as well as in planned EU space programmes, further development of the Austrian space programme, promoting the use of satellite-based space technologies, taking positions in defining space infrastructures and contributions to their operational phases, priority areas of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, contributions to the European space policy, promotion of fundamental space sciences as well as the contributions of space research and space for the education and training of Austrian experts.

The strategy will guide the scope of action of the BMVIT until 2020 and in particular constitute a basis for Austria’s policies with regard to recent and upcoming milestones in the development of the European space sector: the programmatic decisions of the upcoming ESA Council meetings at Ministerial level, and the preparation and implementation of the EU space programmes within the multiannual financial framework from 2014 to 2020.

Investments in space activities are an investment in the future, also in times of economic crisis. The BMVIT is convinced that this future, created by European partners such as the EU and ESA, should be actively shaped by Austria, based on the competences developed to date.