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Jun 2014-Jun 2016
Overview of Greek Space Sector
With regards to Greek space-related activities, it can be said as of 2014 that the national space sector is new-born, but developing. Many Greeks have contributed substantially to space exploration efforts in the past after studying or working abroad, mainly in the United States of America and several countries that constitute the European Space Agency (ESA).
Greece fully aligned itself with the European programme for space activities and joined ESA in 2005, enjoying the opportunity to participate in several European research undertakings. Greek citizens have the potential to work as employees for ESA or make proposals to the Agency. There is no national space organization acting independently, all Greek efforts are directed through ESA.
Despite the challenges brought about by the financial difficulties of the country in the recent years, a new-born Greek cluster of enterprises investing in space-related technologies has just hatched (2012). This goes by the name of si-Cluster (Corallia) and hopes to increase in size and achieve a worldwide level of production standards soon.
Complementary to this, Greece seems to host a considerable number of young space enthusiasts and a significant amount of amateur organizations or clubs whose activity revolves around the aspects of space (for instance, amateur Astronomy Clubs exist in many cities). Many of the events connected to space or the knowledge spread into the public is driven through them.
As Greece is a member of SGAC (the Space Generation Advisory Council), our goal in the next 2 to 4 years is to better organize and increase collaboration between academic space research, public efforts akin to Greece’s participation to ESA, amateur activities that increase awareness about space sciences, and the newfound and developing commercial space sector in Greece. Most carnal to all of these actions is to establish effective, coordinated outreach actions to enhance the interest and knowledge of the Greek public in space and (equally important) to its present and future benefits on our life. And this is where SGAC can prove mostly helpful.
Space-Related Activities in Greece
Greece is a part of ESA (the European Space Agency) and consequently all Greeks can generally participate in ESA events or apply for ESA work positions. (See more here).
Most public space-related efforts in Greece are run through GGET (Greek General Secretariat for Research and Technology – ΓΓΕΤ, Γενική Γραμματεία Έρευνας και Τεχνολογίας). Find out more here (English and Greek version): .
One can have a look at the most recent State-compiled text for a National Space Strategy here (in Greek only).
There are University Professors and students in Greece as well as independent researchers within the country and abroad who conduct research relevant to many space fields. A few examples are Professor of Astronomy N. Spyrou of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (and also the Greek representative at ESA when the country joined the Agency), Dr. Papadeli-Kourtidou and Dr. Kaimakamis who are active in the field of Space Medicine and Physiology, Dr. Oungrinis et al. of the TIE Lab (Polytechnic of Crete) who works on Space Architecture, and many more.
In general, Greek Astronomy Departments, Geology Departments, Chemistry Departments, Medicine Schools and Engineering Departments present with interest in space research. There is also a Laboratory for Space Materials and Applications in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
Amateurs and Volunteers
There are many amateur and space enthusiast societies in Greece, not necessarily about “space” in general, but perhaps about more dedicated domains. A good example however is the Amateur Astronomer Club of Thessaloniki (OFA – Όμιλος Φίλων Αστρονομίας Θεσσαλονίκης, ΟΦΑ), which fosters seminars and activities for the general public not only about Astronomy, but about space in general (more at http://ofa.gr/). Similar amateur clubs that promote space sciences to the public exist in several Greek cities throughout the country.
In late 2012, the first-ever cluster of Greek space sector enterprises was formed. Its name is si-Cluster and more information can be found here: http://www.si-cluster.gr/en/. The si-Cluster has been rather active since, facilitating among other initiatives a professional visit to Israel, endorsed also by GGET, to further the collaboration and exchange of know-how of the two countries in matters concerning space industry and development.
It is our goal to create a single web directory that contains contact details of all institutes and individuals who are involved in space-related activities in Greece. Please stay tuned…
Recent Events in Greece – 2014
Here are listed a few examples of space-related news and events in Greece during the current year (2014):
- Cretan space painting competition for children, carried out in March - April 2014, with the support of the Lunar and Planets Institute (LPI), the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and endorsed by the local authorities (KEPPEDIH-CAM). This event was an initiative of space architect Marianthi Liapi and more details (in Greek only) can be found here.
- The Olympian Symposium on Star Formation international astrophysics conference was held in Katerini, near Mount Olympus, between 25 and 30 May 2014.
- Innovative team from the Democretan University of Thrace in Xanthi gains attention for developing space internet protocols. More details (in Greek) can be found here.
- ESA Athens meeting about the progress of the Copernicus (GMES) European satellite project and the creation of a data centre within Greece. More details can be read here.
- Greek students achieved high ranking in ESA’s European CanSat competition.More details about the competition and its theme (in Greek only) can be seen here.
Here you can find some upcoming space-related events in Greece (last update / July 2014):
- 8th PEEA – Panhellenic Amateur Astronomers’ Meeting (ΠΕΕΑ, Πανελλήνια Εξόρμηση Ερασιτεχνών Αστροναυτών), 25 - 28 July 2014 at Mount Elikonas (38.3089° Ν - 22.8276° Ε). This event includes theoretical seminars as well as practical stargazing under the clear skies. Camping on location is an option. More details available (in Greek and English) here.
- NASA Astronaut Dr Scott Parazynski visits Greece to give a lecture entitled “SPACE: The Ultimate Leadership Challenge” on the 10th of July 2014, at Tavros, Attiki. The exact address of the venue is Cultural Centre “THEATRON”, Ellinikos Kosmos, 254 Peiraeus street, Tavros, Attiki (Athens). More details (in Greek only) can be found online.
- For a list of other recurring space-related events in Greece, please click here.
Interesting Web Links for the Young Generation in Greece