Past and present engagement in space activities in Central and Eastern Europe

Daniel Sagath*, Maarten Adriaensen, Christina Giannopapa

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have been facing different cooperation models in the last fifty years regarding space policy and industrial activities. The period before the 1990s provided these countries with a strong heritage of expertise in space engagement which after the fall of the ‘Eastern Block’ offered the basis for cooperation with the other European countries and organisations. The way space policy in the CEE region was shaped during the early period and the way collaboration is conducted today have not been fully analysed. The objective of this paper is to provide a holistic analysis of the evolution of past and present developments of the CEE countries in space activities. The main focus of this paper is given to the Intercosmos period before the 1990s and following that, the integration process of these countries to the European Space Agency (ESA). Additionally, the CEE countries have been engaging in cooperation with other space agencies in Europe and outside. The countries also participate through the EU and its two flagship programmes Galileo and Copernicus amongst others. Furthermore, this paper provides an overview of the ESA accession process established in the early 2000s as ESA responded to the increasing interest of the CEE countries to engage in cooperation in the field of space. The comparison of both, historical and recent developments on CEE countries in space activities, indicates that CEE region has the basis for integrating in the European space sector. Participation in ESA and collaboration with other space faring nations is needed to ensure successful transformation of both their scientific and industrial basis as well as their governance, to the evolving space sector while utilizing the heritage obtained through the past engagements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalActa astronautica
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Central and Eastern Europe
  • European Space Agency
  • Integration process
  • Intercosmos


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