Baltic states planning cooperation in field of space

  • 2023-03-13
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Representatives of the field of space from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania met this week in Tallinn to discuss space cooperation in the Baltics.

"Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are cooperating with the European Space Agency (ESA) and contributing to its selection programs but so far, the mutual exchange of information and experience has been modest," head of space at the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications Paul Liias said.

Liias said that Estonia has proven itself in the space sector as a reliable partner but cooperation between all three Baltic states could further enhance the prominence of the region. The Baltic states share similar views as well as challenges with regard to space and all three of them would benefit from joint projects.

As an example, Liias pointed out the use of satellite data in environmental oversight, crisis regulation, ensuring security and other areas.

Space is a rapidly developing area globally. Head of the space office at the joint institution of Kredex and Enterprise Estonia (EAS) Madis Vooras noted that Baltic space cooperation is necessary and beneficial because combined forces ensure a greater breakthrough in this rapidly developing field of technology and business.

"Who else would we engage in cooperation with if not our friendly neighbors," Vooras said. "Estonia can share its experience from the perspective of digital state and cyber security, and also offer cooperation with our high-level technology sector. Latvia has potential in the areas of space communications and quantum communication, Lithuania in the production of lasers and small satellites."

Of the three Baltic states, Estonia has come the furthest in its relations with the ESA, having been its member state from 2015. Latvia and Lithuania became associate members in 2021. The Baltic states' ESA membership grants them an entirely new opportunity for joint projects implemented in cooperation with the ESA. Discussions are already underway on the development of an online platform based on Earth remote sensing data, which would benefit both entrepreneurs and state institutions. In addition, cooperation between the three Baltic countries in space helps to create synergy and promote new ideas between the private sector and academia. The development of student satellites in Estonia, in which incubators from Latvian universities have actively participated, is a good example.

At the meeting, a Baltic manifesto on space was drawn up, which lays the foundation for strengthening cooperation and exchange of expertise between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in the field of space policy, space data and services, satellites, and space science and space-related youth and education programs.