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Space Research and Applications

The “Space Research and Applications” directorate is responsible for managing Belgium’s space programme on a daily basis, both on a European (European Space Agency) and bilateral level (France, Russia, Argentina). It is also responsible for the Belgian state’s participation in Airbus aeronautical programmes.

Belgium has been active in the space sector for the past thirty years and was at the origin of the foundation of the European Space Agency (ESA). There is a budget of EUR 178 million for space activities, 167 million of which is allocated to ESA programmes. Through its commitment, the directorate manages all the space programmes, i.e. space sciences, earth observation, navigation, telecommunications, international space station, exploration, launchers, technology and science programmes.

For this purpose, it is in permanent contact with the industrial and scientific world to ensure its maximum involvement in these different programmes. All the country’s industrialists have stated that they are satisfied with the current form of support provided by the public authorities. Special attention is given to the development of products with a high technological value, ensuring a maximum return on investment in terms of our country’s financial help.

As regards bilateral cooperation, we must increase our cooperation with France (SPOT and Pléiades), Russia and Argentina on the SAOCOM observation satellite. As for the national research programme for earth observation, it is responsible for the scientific use of the data from these satellites, creating the know-how necessary for the interpretation of this data.

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