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Czech Space Alliance

The Czech Space Alliance (CSA) is an SME industry association of, and for, Czech space companies with proven skills and track record in aerospace business, and with broad international client base. The alliance was established in 2006 under the auspices of CzechTrade, the export promotion agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. During the process leading to the Czech accession to the ESA convention in 2008, it was registered as a legal entity. Its focus is on promoting the capabilities of its members and fostering their successful participation in competitive international space tenders, with major emphasis on ESA. This is carried out worldwide in the context of promoting the Czech Republic high tech capabilities and of establishing and developing relationship with other associations, space agencies and other entities involved in space technology development or utilisation.

The alliance consists of 15 companies from a spectrum of technology disciplines [see members]. Non SME companies are admitted as associate members, without voting rights.

Among the main goals are:

Internally — represent and promote the interests of the space industry to the national decision makers, the media and other relevant associations or entities; co-operate with the ministries and all other official entities supporting space activities in the formulation of space policy and creation of suitable conditions for the growth of the space industry.This includes participation in the drafting and updating the National Space Plans. Organising or co-organising events and B2Bs with overseas partners in conjunction with with the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Industry or Czechinvest. Chairing the Industry and Application secion of the Space Activities Coordination Board of the Ministry of Transport (de facto the national space agency)

Externally — present the skills of its members at international events and establish dialogue and relationship with similar associations and space agencies, be they in Europe or beyond; help its members to develop business relationship with potential partners in other European Space Agency members states and beyond. Organising space industry missions abroad (not only ESA member states but also e.g. Japan, Thailand, Brazil..)

The Czech Republic started the Program for European Cooperating States (PECS) in January 2005, This enabled Czech industry to participate in ESA projects and even standard competitive tenders (CSA member, with a European consortium led by ACS Italy, had won the first such competitive tender for the Czech Republic as far back as 2007). When on 12th November 2008 the Czech Republic acceded to the ESA convention, ESA and the Czech Republic established the joint ESA-Czech Task Force to help Czech industry and academia to develop better capabilities to participate in ESA programmes. The Task Force was the advisory body for the Czech Industry Incentive Scheme, which together with the relevant ministries helped our industry for 6 years (until 2014) to develop skills and opportunities, to enable us to become more familiar with the ESA business culture and procedures, and to become more competitive with ESA member states' industry.

Following a number of industry projects during the PECS period, dominated by the CSA members, the entry into full membership was inaugurated in 2009 by a generic competitive tender restricted to the Czech Republic (AO6052), to the value of 2.3 M€. The alliance members won 80% of the funds awarded to industry. In the 2nd Czech open call for tenders, (AO6647), CSA was again the leader, with its members winning 77% of the 3.62M€ budget allocated to industry.

In 2010, order to make the Czech participation after the accession to the ESA convention more effective and well focused, the Czech government tasked the Ministry of Transport to prepare a strategic space policy document. The National Space Plan (NSP), result of cooperation of all ministries and the Czech Space Alliance was approved by the government in May 2010. In line with the NSP's recommendations, in April 2011, the government transferred the responsibility for coordinating the national space policy and the task to represent the CR in ESA and other international space entities such as the EU, to the Ministry of Transport. The Ministry of Transport created a steering board composed of three sections (industry, science and education, and international relations and security) with participation of relevant ministries and led by the Minister of Transport. This Space Activities Coordination Council of the Minister of Transport is effectively our equivalent of a national space agency.

CSA cooperates closely with the Council to provide its practical know-how and experience with space projects on one hand, and alert the Council members of the industrial needs, preferences or possible impediments in their endeavour to become more involved in, and more competitive in, ESA programmes. As such, it is an important practical complement and source of information, for the Council.

CSA is one of the founding members of the pan-European association of national space alliances, SME4space, which was established at the Paris air-show in 2007. At the show, SME4space signed a co-operation agreement with the ESA DG. Since then, CSA also ran a study for the ESA SME Unit of the needs of SMEs in ESA. The Czech Space Alliance covered the PECS countries in this study and organised an international meeting in Prague.

Czech Republic quick rise in ESA, from a near standstill during 1989 - 2005, built on the very strong background of science and technology experience which Czechoslovakia (as it was then) gained during its substantial participation in the Inter-cosmos missions, as well as through building and operating a number of national satellites (the Magion series). By co-operation with the national decision makers, building networks with international partners and developing space business activities in ESA and elsewhere, CSA decisively contributes to the Czech Republic becoming a strong and valued partner of ESA and the ESA member state industries. In line with the goal of the Ministry of Transport to generate return on their investment to the ESA programmes, the members also strive to transfer their gained knowhow to commercial projects. Despite the relatively short experience compared to our international competitors, we are winning commercial contracts (if still relatively small) not only in Europe but also overseas - from US to Japan.

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