Seville, 27 November (STA) - Slovenia will join two more programmes of the European Space Agency (ESA) for a total of five, with one of the new projects also involving the Planica Nordic Centre, Economy Ministry State Secretary Aleš Cantarutti announced on Wednesday in Seville, where he is attending an ESA meeting.
Cantarutti said on the sidelines of the two-day session of the ESA Space 19+ council, which is to confirm the agency's new programme, that Slovenia's space sector was seeing fast growth.
"Given the competences and potential of Slovenian businesses and institutions, Slovenia will upgrade its participation with the ESA by participating in two more of its programmes," the Economy Ministry said in a release.
Slovenia, an associate member of ESA since 2016, is already involved in the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP), the Earth Observation programme EO and the Prodex science support programme.
Now, the country businesses and institutions will also be able to get involved in the Future EO programme, which will focus on developing small satellites, AI, block chain technology and other breakthrough technologies, as well as in the E3P2 programme for human and robotic exploration that also provides opportunities for industries usually not dealing with space.
Slovenia will enable E3P2 research to be be carried out in the Planica Nordic Centre, home to one of the largest ski flying hills in the world, which is to become one of the ESA's research centres conducting preparations for long-term crewed space missions.
The Planica centre is to study things like the effects of hypoxia and simulated reduced gravity on the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and thermoregulation system, as well as decompression sickness and the impact on immunology and vision.
The results will also be of use in regular medicine, and several companies with relevant knowledge have expressed interest to participate.
The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology highlighted a number of companies and institutions in Slovenia that deal with high tech or space research and are competitive on the global level.
The list includes Sinergise, Skylabs, Balmar, Dewesoft, Duol, Cosylab, Vesolje-SI, Jožef Stefan Institute, ZRC SAZU, Geocodis and the universities of Ljubljana, Maribor and Nova Gorica.