Space has become the fifth military operational domain and the main objective of the CapTech Space is to facilitate research, innovation and technology development such that the EU can deploy, operate, and benefit from defence space capabilities.
CapTech Space is composed of more than 350 experts coming from participating Member States (pMS), industry, SMEs, RTOs and academia. CapTech Space began in January 2023 after being approved by the R&T Steering Board as the 15th CapTech at EDA. CapTech Space will continue the work of the Ad-Hoc Working Group Space, initiated in 2021, to address challenges in space defence.
CapTech Space objectives are defined as follows:
- Coordinate and strengthen R&T for Space Defence in Europe.
- Overcome shortfalls and support new capabilities in the space domain as regards defence and security.
- Foster innovative cooperation among the EDA pMS in R&T for space defence.
- Act as an interface between MoDs and industry for achieving European autonomy.
- Generate innovative collaborative R&T projects for space defence.
The term Space Defence covers a broad scope and the activities of CapTech Space therefore focuses on a variety of R&T topics, such as:
- Space support to operations, namely Earth Observation and Reconnaissance to improve and develop sensors and R&T to improve Satellite Communications.
- Future Data Processing and analysis capabilities for space-based data using Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered data processing to cover enhanced military decision-making process and information technologies.
- Space support, availability and sustainability, including Space Situational Awareness and Space Operations (e.g., by space-based sensors and AI techniques), Launch, Space and Ground segment (e.g., by innovative small satellites in Very Low Earth Orbit, propulsion systems, launchers, and High-Attitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) and Detection, Mitigation and Protection by Space systems to cover capabilities for protection including electronic warfare, early warning and ballistic missiles defence.
- Complementary R&T developments for defence such as Quantum and other disruptive technologies for space applications and Space-based Positioning, Navigation and Timing Applications.
- Finally, Defence Space Architecture for the development of interoperability and secure information sharing.
The R&T topics are shaped around nine Technology Building Blocks (TBBs) with implementation roadmaps for potential projects via different funding mechanisms such as the EDA Operational Budget (OB) studies, R&T Ad-Hocs and the European Defence Fund. All pMS can pursue R&T collaboration in projects leveraging on the TBB roadmaps that cover more than 150 projects opportunities.
For R&T efforts to be fruitful and contribute to defence needs and priorities, the CapTech Space activities are linked to the EDA Capability Development Plan (CDP) addressing security and defence challenges in the short-, mid-, and longer-term. In this way, for the CDP 2018 priorities, it mainly contributes to:
- Space-based information and communications services (Earth observation, Positioning, Navigation and Timing, Space Situational Awareness, Satellite communication).
- Information superiority (radio spectrum management, tactical communications and information systems, information management, and ISR capabilities).
- Air Superiority (e.g., Ballistic Missile Defence).
- Cyber defence (including in space).
CapTech Space has an ongoing collaboration with other EDA CapTechs on common topics for developing defence capabilities, definition of requirements, and coordination of activities. Interactions with other relevant organisations are foreseen to promote information exchange and investigate synergies and opportunities for joint activities. Examples of these organisations are the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen), the European Commission and NATO, among others.
The CapTech Space community meets at least three times per year. EDA pMS can offer to host meetings, upon national representatives’ agreement. Dedicated industry workshops are also organised, fostering the participation of both governmental representatives and private entities. Workshops’ objectives are to achieve concrete outcomes, such as joint project plans and technology assessments. During such meetings, MoDs representatives, designated as CapTech National Coordinators (CNCs), meet and discuss technology areas with the potential to lead to multinational research projects, in consultation with the CapTech Governmental and non-Governmental members.
Requests for membership to the CapTech Space can be submitted to the CapTech Moderator. Such requests will be forwarded to your national authorities, in the person of the respective CNC for approval. The approval of the CNC will be needed to become a Governmental Expert (CGE) or non-Governmental Expert (CnGE), and for your participation in a CapTech event.
To become a member of the CapTech (CGE or CnGE) or in case of questions regarding the CapTech’s operation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, with the CapTech Space Moderator email@example.com and Project Officer Emerging Space and Radar Technologies firstname.lastname@example.org in cc.
With its SRA and TBB roadmaps approved, CapTech Space currently has 4-5 new Cat B projects in preparation on the following topics: “Earth Observation and Reconnaissance”, “Launch, Space and Ground Segment” and “Detection, Mitigation and Protection by Space Systems”.
Ongoing and finalized activities
- The first collaborative project of CapTech Space ASSAI (“Autonomous Space-based Situational Awareness and Artificial Intelligence”) has been signed and the contract is currently under preparation.
- The CapTech explores synergies and opportunities for joint activities with the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Union Satellite Centre (SatCen), the European Commission and NATO.
- CapTech Space is carrying out a study to identify the critical components in the TBBs, the outcome of which will feed into a Joint Task Force between EDA, the European Commission and ESA to mitigate the Europe’s dependency on critical space components.
- 1st CapTech Space meeting, Vienna, March 2023
- 1st Industry Workshop of the CapTech Space, Vienna, March 2023
- 2nd CapTech Space meeting and Industry Workshop, Luxemburg, 14-16 June 2023