ESA collaborates with EU to ensure secure connectivity

In an increasingly digital world, the need to protect essential supplies and crucial information from cyberattacks is more important than ever. Recognizing this, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission have signed an agreement to utilize space technology to enhance information security.

The agreement outlines the creation of a satellite constellation, known as “Iris2” (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite), which will be supported by ground-based infrastructure. This system will be utilized by European governments and businesses to ensure the security and confidentiality of information. It aims to promote digital autonomy and serve as a strategic asset for the European Union.

Over the course of 12 years, ESA will collaborate with space companies in the EU to develop and validate the Iris2 constellation in orbit on behalf of the European Commission. Advanced technologies will be employed to safeguard European information. The first satellites, along with their ground stations, are expected to become operational by the end of 2027, following the signing of a contract in 2024.

ESA has been a longstanding partner of the EU in European space endeavors. The agency has been involved in designing and developing various elements of the EU’s space program, including the Galileo system and the fleet of EU Copernicus Earth observation satellites. These systems provide accurate positioning services, data for environmental management, and contribute to civil security efforts. Additionally, ESA created the European satellite navigation system for aircraft.

Timo Pesonen of the Directorate General for Defence, Industry and Space at the European Commission expressed his support for the agreement, emphasizing the importance of connectivity as a strategic challenge for the future. He highlighted the need for Europe to act swiftly to protect its digital sovereignty and societal resilience.

Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General, emphasized the significance of secure space-enabled connectivity for European citizens to enjoy the benefits that space technology brings to daily life on Earth. He expressed pride in cooperating closely with the European Commission to ensure the enhancement of European citizens’ lives and the development of a resilient European space economy.

The Iris2 agreement marks an important step in safeguarding European information and ensuring the continent’s digital autonomy. By harnessing the power of space technology, European citizens can rest assured that their essential supplies and crucial information will be protected from cyber threats, contributing to a more secure and resilient Europe.