30 Jan 15. EDA European Synergies & Innovation Director Denis Roger provided the audience of the 7th EU Space Policy Conference with an overview of the Agency’s work in the field of Governmental satellite communications. The 7th Annual Conference on European Union Space Policy took place 27-28 January  in Brussels. For this year’s edition, the event of major importance for the space community focused on the rising demand for space services and applications in Europe and on ways to reinforce the EU’s position in that domain. It gathered highlevel speakers from governments, industry and EU institutions.
Speaking as part of the sixth session dedicated to the increasing civil and security & defence synergies of space services, EDA European Synergies & Innovation (ESI) Director Denis Roger put the focus on the Agency’s role in the cooperative Govsatcom (Governmental Satellite Communications) programme. “A common set of requirements has been approved by participating Member States in 2014”, he pointed out. “The European Defence Agency is now preparing the technical studies that will allow us to offer options to Member States by late 2016, early 2017”, he added.
From the outset, this future Govsatcom programme will need to benefit from a dual approach, taking into account military and civil needs. “Not taking advantage of such synergies will be a waste of efficiency and taxpayer’s money”, Denis Roger stressed. He also discussed the topic of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), another capability priority supported by the December 2013 European Council with an important space dimension: “The DESIRE programme, ran jointly by EDA and the European Space Agency, will investigate if satellite communications are compatible with safety and navigability requirements for the air traffic insertion of RPAS”.
Denis Roger stressed again the benefits of a dual-use approach on these topics. He also mentioned cyber defence as a field where close coordination between civil and military users is needed and should be taken into account at the very beginning of any new programmatic initiative. He concluded on the fact that the progress made to better exploit civil-military synergies did not diminish the need for specific defence research and had to be pursued through the full use of EU funding instruments to support them as well as other dual-use initiatives in the space domain.