(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Israel Space Agency signed on Monday its first cooperation agreement with the European Union in the field of satellite navigation.
The GNSS accord was signed by the EU and the space agency, which is part of the Science, Technology and Space Ministry in Jerusalem.
The accord will allow Israeli academics and industries to participate in projects of satellite navigation with their counterparts in Europe.
Its significance is that it paves the way toward giving legitimacy and access to Israeli industry, research institutes and universities in the field of space to cooperate directly with their counterparts in the EU and to get bi-national research and development budgets.
Specifically, Israel will have the opportunity in the future to supply services and parts for navigation satellites from the Galileo series, develop navigation applications and integrate itself in research in the field of navigation applications, as well as to exchange know-how.
In the coming years, Galileo satellites will become active, along with new land-based navigation systems developed in Europe that work together with the veteran systems developed in the US and Russia.
The Europeans, according to the space agency, have made a major contribution to the improvement of continuity in satellite services.
Galileo is considered one of the premier projects of Europe, and by the end of this decade it will include 30 satellites, 27 of them active in space and three more that could replace them. These will supply data directly to users of Waze traffic positioning systems and others.
During the ceremony, Science, Technology and Space Minister Yaakov Peri thanked Antonio Tyjani, the commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship and vice president of the European Commission, for his “leadership and personal involvement” in reaching the agreement.
“This accord is an important landmark in EU-Israeli relations and stresses the mutual respect on both sides in the field of R&D. Navigation systems such as these can be used for security purposes and for evacuating victims from places of catastrophes, Peri said.
Space Agency director Menahem Kidron added that the field of navigation satellites is becoming very popular and in demand and that it affects “the quality of life of us all. The agreement will enable Israeli industries to take part in a market of tens of millions of dollars and for scientists to expand their knowledge by participating in large European projects.
It will also serve as the basis for future cooperation projects with the European Commission,” Kidron said.
In recent years, the Israel Space Agency has been working on establishing such international agreements with space agencies in France, Italy, Russia, Kazakhstan and the European Space Agency.