Czech Space Alliance
The Czech Space Alliance (CSA) is an industrial association of, and for, the Czech space industry, with proven skills and track record in aerospace business and with broad international client base. The alliance was established in 2006 under the auspices of CzechTrade, the export promotion agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. During the process leading to the Czech accession to the ESA convention in 2008, it formalised its statutes and became registered as a legal entity. Its focus is on fostering successful participation of the members in competitive international space tenders, with major emphasis on ESA.
The alliance comprises 17 companies from a spectrum of technology disciplines [see members] and some 300 man years of experience in space projects.
Among the main goals are:
Internally — represent and promote the interests of the space industry to the national decision makers, the media and other relevant associations or entities; co-operate with the ministries and all other official entities supporting space activities in the formulation of space policy and creation of suitable conditions for the growth of the space industry.
Externally — present the skills of its members at international events and establish dialogue and relationship with similar associations and space agencies, be they in Europe or beyond; help its members to develop business relationship with potential partners in other European Space Agency members states and beyond.
The Czech Republic started the Program for European Cooperating States (PECS) on 1.1.2005, This enabled Czech industry to participate in ESA projects and even standard competitive tenders (CSA company was a member of an European consortium led by ACS Italy, which had won the Image Information Mining in Time-series ITT - first such competitive tender win for the Czech Republic).
When on 12th November 2008 the Czech Republic acceded to the ESA convention, ESA and the Czech Republic, established the joint ESA-Czech Task Force – a concept already proven with previous new ESA members – to help to ensure that Czech industry and academia develop the capabilities to participate in ESA programmes. The Task Force is the advisory body for the Czech Industry Incentive Scheme, a transitional measure defined in the Treaty for the Accession of the Czech Republic to the ESA Convention. The Task Force, together with the relevant ministries are helping our industry for 6 years (until 2014) to develop skills and opportunities to enable us to become more familiar with the ESA business culture and procedures, and more competitive with ESA member states' industry. The Czech Industry Incentive Scheme, an ESA programme following ESA's rules and procedures, allocates for this 45% of the Czech mandatory contribution to ESA over the said 6 years.
In order to make the Czech participation after the accession to the ESA convention more effective and well focused, the Czech government tasked the Ministry of Transport to prepare a strategic space policy document. The National Space Plan (NSP), result of cooperation of all ministries, the Czech Space Office and the Czech Space Alliance was approved by the government in May 2010. In line with the NSP's recommendations, in April 2011, the government transferred the responsibility for coordinating the national space policy and the task to represent the CR in ESA and other international space entities such as the EU, to the Ministry of Transport. The Ministry of Transport created a steering board composed of three groups (industry, science and education, and international relations and security) with participation of relevant ministries and led by the Minister of Transport.
CSA welcomes the transparent structure and aims to provide its practical know-how and experience with space projects on one hand, and alert the board members of the industrial needs, preferences or possible impediments in their endeavour to become more involved in, and more competitive in, ESA programmes. As such, it should be regarded as an important practical complement and source of information, to the activities which the official steering board carries out or contemplates.
CSA is one of the founding members of the pan-European association of national space alliances, SME4space, which was established at the Paris air-show in 2007. At the show, on 19th June, it signed a co-operation agreement with the ESA DG. Since then, it also ran a study of the needs of SMEs in ESA, for the ESA SME Unit. The Czech alliance covered the PECS countries in this study.
Following a number of industry projects during the PECS period, dominated by the CSA members, the entry into full membership was inaugurated in 2009 by a generic competitive tender restricted to the Czech Republic (AO6052), to the value of 2.3 M€. The alliance members won 80% of the funds awarded to industry. The results of the 2nd Czech open call for tenders, (AO6647) was announced in May 2011. CSA was again the leader, with its members winning 77% of the 3.62M€ budget allocated to industry.
Since the Czech Republic participates in ESA programmes, 100% of successful Czech bids for standard international competitive tenders in ESA and Galileo were presented by the CSA members - in cooperation with international partners from Italy, Germany, Spain and Austria.
CSA builds on the very strong background science and technology experience which the Czech Republic gained during its substantial participation in the Inter-cosmos missions, as well as through building and operating a number of national satellites. By parallel co-operation with the national decision makers, and building networks with international partners and developing space business activities in ESA and elsewhere, CSA shall decisively contribute to the Czech Republic becoming a strong and valued partner of ESA and the ESA member state industries.