On 24 June 2021, at the Łukasiewicz Institute of Aviation, a partnership agreement was signed for the construction of an Earth-observation microsatellite constellation for the purposes of the security and defense sector. The agreement was signed by representatives of CREOTECH INSTRUMENTS S.A. (consortium leader), PCO S.A. (member of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, a state-owned defense industry holding company), the Łukasiewicz Institute of Aviation, Military University of Technology and Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN).
The agreement comes as a natural consequence of the joint work of these organizations as part of other pending projects, particularly a project involving the development of a Polish observation microsatellite design (EagleEye, a project of the National Center for Research and Development (NCBR), financed as part of its Fast Track) and a nanosatellite constellation project (the PIAST project financed by the NCBR with funds allocated to research for national security and defense purposes). It should be noted that all signatories to the agreement have prior experience in carrying out projects for the European Space Agency. This allows for the implementation of ECSS (European Cooperation for Space Standardization), ensuring that the solutions will be developed to the required quality.
The signatories also assume that the construction of the constellation will be eligible for financing under the National Recovery Program, which provides for significant efforts related to the use of space.
With such experienced and professional entities taking the lead in developing an Earth-Observation satellite system for Poland, the project is expected to be delivered with the utmost care and focus. Once in orbit, the constellation will enhance Poland’s national security and will significantly expand the country’s capabilities to use modern defense systems currently being acquired or already held by the Polish Armed Forces (e.g. JASSM-ER missiles or ATACMS missiles with a range of 300 km, which are part of HIMARS launchers).
The parties to the agreement proposed that the Ministry of National Defense use the modular HYPERSAT platform developed by CREOTECH INSTRUMENTS S.A. in partnership with other signatories for the purposes of the constellation project. The platform can be modified to meet the requirements of the project and will be equipped with a telescope for high-resolution imagery. The proposed solution will be aligned with the MoD’s efforts to acquire satellite image recognition capabilities. At the same time, it will pose an opportunity for the Polish industry and domestic R&D centers to take a major role in creating the constellation.
Commissioning the construction of microsatellites to domestic companies will also improve the presence of Polish industry representatives in the supply chain of the international space sector. Thus, both in an economic and state security terms, this move would be aligned with the goals formulated in the Polish Space Strategy, which should be achieved by 2030.