European Space Agency

Deal signed to boost secure satellite communications

Artists impression of a secure communications satellite

Disruptive services and innovative features of the next generation of secure satellite communications will be analysed following the signing of a new memorandum of understanding.

The agreement extends the cooperation between ESA and the European Defence Agency (EDA), an EU body that promotes and facilitates integration between member states within the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy.

Telecommunications are becoming increasingly crucial to our society, economy and security, including in support of Europe’s strategic autonomy.

In response, ESA and EDA are working together to develop secure and resilient satellite communications that respond to the evolving needs of EU member states while strengthening the competitiveness of the European space industry.

The agreement supports ESA’s ongoing work to foster resilient digital systems in space.

It will help to identify systems architectures that can respond to a wide set of user requirements in the field of secure communications. EDA will be invited to take part in ESA’s exploratory systems study to provide expertise, information, data and a channel to its user communities, who may have a stake in ESA’s study.

Once the study results are available later this year, ESA and EDA will explore further coordinated steps towards the evolution and preparation of next-generation secure satellite communication systems, with the support of the ESA Security Office. These will ensure the seamless implementation of the ESA security framework as an enabler to secure the development of space systems.

Jiří Šedivý, EDA Chief Executive, said: “Nowadays, neither national nor multinational military operations are anymore conceivable without the support of space-based systems, especially secure and resilient satellite communication, and their importance keeps growing.

“The Coordinated Annual Review on Defence, which delivered a first-ever comprehensive defence review conducted at EU level, specifically underlined the importance of cooperation in space and identified ‘Defence in Space’ as one of the most pressing, most needed and most impacting areas for cooperation and future investment in EU defence.

“Therefore, increased cooperation between ESA and EDA in this specific domain will not only be beneficial for our member states and industry, but also contribute to strengthening Europe’s defence capabilities”.

Jan Wörner, ESA Director General, said: “Over the years, our two agencies have undertaken no less than eight formal cooperation projects, ranging across most space domains. Our partnership is solid and will support ESA Member States and help ensure a resilient civil infrastructure and robust services for citizens."

Published 25 February 2021
Last updated at 25 February 2021 - 11:35