Space offers new opportunities
Innovations and inventions arising from space research play a key role in people’s day-to-day lives and are utilised every day in fields ranging from geographic information services to communications. Finnish space expertise is known for high-quality space and atmospheric research and competence in electronics and software for space components. Finnish enterprises and research organisations have participated in the design and preparation of dozens of satellites.
The four key areas of Finnish space activities are:
- scientific research into space and the Earth;
- Earth observation;
- satellite positioning; and
- space industry.
In addition to traditional research organisations and equipment and application suppliers, the opportunities offered by the New Space Economy are attracting new players to the sector in Finland, too. New Space refers to space activities often carried out by operators that are new to the sector and typically commercially oriented and independent of the state. Small satellites and private launch services enable easier and less expensive access to space, and space applications are also used increasingly for purposes other than research needs, such as everyday positioning and telecommunications services. Remote sensing, satellite services and satellite positioning applications aim towards global business operations.
Finland became a space nation when Aalto University’s first nanosatellite was launched into space in summer 2017. Finland’s first commercial satellite, ICEYE’s SAR microsatellite, was sent into orbit in January 2018. Several other small-satellite projects are also underway.
The Finnish Space Committee brings national actors together
Finland’s space policy falls under the responsibilities of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. Operating under the Ministry as an advisory body, the Finnish Space Committee brings together the perspectives of various administrative branches. The Committee was responsible for the formulation of the National Strategy for Finland’s Space Activities 2013–2020 and is systematically monitoring its implementation.
Finland has been a member of the European Space Agency (ESA) since 1995. Finnish participation in ESA’s research and science programmes is coordinated by Business Finland.
Priorities of Finnish space activities outlined by national strategy
The National Strategy for Finland’s Space Activities 2013–2020 sets out the vision, objectives and development strategy for Finland’s space activities. The aim is for Finland’s space activities to reach the world’s top level in selected areas by 2020.
The key projects outlined in the strategy focus on the following areas:
- developing space-based applications that respond to the growing demands of the Arctic region
- strengthening the competitiveness of services with open-source geographical information
- raising the level of scientific research by utilising ESA’s and EU’s programmes and
- advancing the specialisation of the space industry and its applications development to tackle tightening competition.
Space activities are subject to authorisation
Provisions on space activities are laid down in the Act on Space Activities (63/2018) and the Decree of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment on Space Activities (74/2018) enacted by virtue of the Act.
Space activities may be carried on only subject to prior authorisation by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
Satellites and other space objects launched into outer space are registered in the registry of space objects maintained by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.