Space, an opportunity to grow
Last October 4 was the 59th anniversary of the first satellite launched to space, the Russian Sputnik, a milestone that marked the beginning of the space race between the Soviet Union and the United States. It also implied the beginning of the development of a new field in science, technology, and industry that has become especially important for its contribution to the improvement of everyday life in areas like mobility, health, transport, security and agriculture, among others. Today, we could not understand the world in the same way without GPS navigation systems or meteorological predictions, applications, and technologies that have emerged due to the development of the spatial industry in the last decades and are a clear example of success through knowledge and technology transfer from this field to the industry.
We are, therefore, in front of an industry that is not only an instrument for developing science and technology, but also an important economic engine for society, which offers a wonderful opportunity for our industry to continue growing, and generating wealth and employment. This has been one of the core values transmitted to citizenship during the World Space Week, held from October 10-14, in which Seville hosted a full program of activities organized by different institutions. Andalusia has a great potential to grow in the space sector as a result of its experience, capability, and growth in the aeronautical industry in the past decades, and which we should certainly take advantage of.
In fact, aeronautics represents 1.62% of the GDP and over 20% of the Industrial Manufacturing GDP of Andalusia, with sales around €2.4 billion and 13,800 employees, and with a continuous growth in the past 10 years with an average annual increase of 12% and 9.2% respectively. Moreover, Andalucía has become the second region in Spain thanks to its influence in the aeronautical industry and its position as an aerospace hub of reference in Europe and worldwide, due to the presence of key players like Airbus Group and the development of programmes like A400M.
Business linked to the space industry is still at a beginning stage in our region, but there are already more than 160 agents integrated by groups of researchers, technology centres, research institutes, and working companies in this industry, some of which are developing components for satellites and space launchers, becoming pioneers and European leaders in additive manufacturing for use in space, or in new applications that use the signal from the satellite navigation system, EGNOS-GALILEO, among other developments. This is the case for companies like Alter Technology, SOLAR-MEMS, or the CATEC, which are leading the way and represent the best incentive to encourage the commitment to space in Andalusia.
This is a bet that should be seen as an investment of present and future, a chance for the development of a strong space industry in Andalusia that requires the efforts and collaboration of all public and private stakeholders (administrations, universities, businesses, etc) to boost growth from an already well-established aeronautical sector in the region. The opportunity is there, let’s work together to seize it.
Antonio González Marín
President of FADA-CATEC
Companies and institutions commit to increase the development of the space industry in Andalusia during the World Space Week