Brussels space race: Explosive plans for EU satellite system exposed in leaked memo

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Eurocrats want to grow the bloc’s space and defence industries as part of a centralised plan to create an “EU Observatory of Critical Technologies”. The new scheme comes as part of an 11-point plan to end the European Union’s dependency on foreign space programmes. “We’re becoming serious about technological sovereignty,” an EU official told the Politico website.

A leaked memo ahead of the launch sets out plans for the European Commission to launch a low-earth orbit satellite to rival the SpaceX Starlink network.

It will offer secure government communications between EU states.

The Commission aim is “fostering synergies among relevant EU-funded instruments and facilitating civilian-space-defence cross-fertilisation”, according to the draft note.

Its tech monitoring body will produce regular reports to ensure the EU has ended “existing gaps and dependencies” on outside firms and countries.

It will “provide a regular monitoring and analysis of critical technologies, their potential applications, the value chains, the desired EU control over them and the existing gaps and dependencies”, the note says.

France is a key backer of the EU space scheme to stop the bloc being outmuscled by the US and Chinese.

Over the past decades, Europe has used US and Russian tech for access to space.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire last week said: “If we want Europe to be a continent that matters in the 21st Century, if we want Europe to have a strategic place ahead of Chin and the USA, it is essential that we invest more in the space domain.”

“We have to give ourselves the means,” he added.

“Macron has entrusted me with the responsibility to handle space matters. This is an area where we want to see results in the coming weeks.”

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The EU will also seek to clean up space amid that there is too much space debris in Earth’s orbit.

The European Space Agency has estimated there are nearly 130 million man-made pieces of debris orbiting Earth.

They range from a tool box dropped by an astronaut to frozen urine ejected from the International Space Station.

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