Cyprus wants to be part of space development, Minister says at ESA’s “Act In Space” competition

Cyprus wants to be part of the space development and benefit from the space systems that are today essential for the wellbeing and security of the European citizens, Minister of Transport, Communications and Works, Vassiliki Anastasiadou said on Saturday.

The Minister was addressing the local European Space Agencys space start-ups competition Act In Space that is taking place in Cyprus for the first time. The organiser of the competition is the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO). The competition takes place in 20 countries.

The Minister congratulated CSEO for organizing this important event and the Nicosia Municiaplity and the Youth Board both of which have contributed to the success of the event.

“Cyprus wants to be part of the space development and benefit from the space systems that are today essential for the wellbeing and security of the European citizens. The Republicc of Cyprus is thus actively supporting the efforts concerning the use of space related technologies and applications” the Minister said, adding that during the last years, the government has developed the necessary structures and procedures in order to actively participate in the European Space Policy.

She also said that the Ministry has decided to apply for membership in the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space known as COPUOS. In addition, she said that the Ministry is preparing the National Space Strategy and is considering the possibility of increasing Cyprus’ subscription to the ESA to give the opportunity to a larger numeber of researchers to be funded by the Agency’s plan for European Corporate State (PECS).

“Small states can, through targeted strategy, excel in this area as well and this is the purpose of Cyprus to excel in the space sector and bring growth to the island”.

She also referred to Cyprus having one of the best climate conditions for earth observation, noting that this sector is one of the Ministrys priorities.

Together with the strategic location, the national infrastructure and expertise we can develop innovative space technology services and attract investments, she concluded.

The competition was also attended by top ESA/NASA scientist Marcello Coradini, who was ESA Programs Coordinator at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California until end of August 2015.

This space competition is considered by CSEO to be the most important one in high technology and space innovation ever organized in Cyprus.

In his speech, President of CSEO Giorgos Danos said that when they first started the organisation five years ago they had a vision, which was to launch Cyprus into the space era because of their faith in the counrys potential.

When we first started in 2013 five years ago we set a bold goal to launch Cyprus into the space era” he said, and recalled CSEO’s recent successes with first prizes at NASA competitions saying ‘that is why we invest in our youth’.

Danos added that with this competition “we will promote technological innovation in Cyprus and form innovative start-ups in the top high-tech space sector, giving opportunities to the new generation and placing Cyprus dynamically in this captivating field”.

He also pointed out the importance of the human capital of CSEO saying that it has over 500 registered researchers.

In his short address, top ESA/NASA scientist Professor Marcello Coradini said that it is a great pleasure for him to be in Cyprus during this competition, noting that space is already in every field of our lives.

He wished Cyprus every success in the competition. It is noted that Coradini will be guiding the contestants during the competition.

Coradini joined the European Space Agency in April 1987. As Coordinator of the Solar System Missions (1987-2010), he has been in charge of planning and overseeing the Solar System missions implementation at ESA. More recently, he led the ESA Exploration Program and contributed to the formulation and budgeting of the ExoMars 2016 and 2018 program.

In 1991, the International Astronomical Union has named asteroid 4598 after him for his contributions to asteroidal science and exploration.

On behalf of the Nicosia Municipality, Deputy Mayor Eleni Loucaidou said that the Municipality has supported CSEO from the beginning, because it believed that it could bring tangible results to the island, adding and we were right, and noting that CSEO has managed to take Cyprus on the world map of countries with space technologies.

CSEO’s mission of promoting science, education, research, innovation and entrepreneurship is aligned with the Development Strategy of Nicosia, she added.

Loucaidou said that this is why they have entered into a strategic partnership with CSEO which highlights Nicosia Municipality’s essential and catalytic role in the promotion of the city as a hub of knowledge and innovation.

Referring to the competition, she said that today, is a day we get to see Nicosia at its best. We get to see students, engineers and researchers engage difficult challenges and develop solutions.

Designed for students but open to everyone, the objective of the competition is to foster entrepreneurship, encourage start-up creation and promote the use of space technologies and space acquired data to change citizen’s lives, to boost employment and to protect our planet.

The winning team from Cyprus will represent the island to the international competition in the Space City in Toulouse, France, where the first prize is a Zero-G flight.

More information about the competition: https://actinspace.org/country/cyprus

CNA acts as media sponsor of the event.

Source: Cyprus News Agency