|National Points of Contact|
|Simon Vanden Bussche
Sep 2014-Sep 2016
Belgium is a lucky country in terms of space involvement. For starters, the country already has two astronauts. Dirk Frimout embarked on a 10-day mission with the Space Shuttle in 1992. 10 years later in 2002, Frank De Winne became the second Belgian in space with a 10-day mission to the ISS followed by a 6-month stay on the board the ISS in 2009. He became the very first European commander of the station. The government has an active space education policy, and Belgium has many space enthusiast organisations along with SGAC Belgium. Both public and private initiative events of all kinds are held each year. SGAC Belgium understands its main task here to aid existing organisations, to reach more people and to provide them with help in promoting events.
Belgium is relative to its GDP, a big spender in space, with an estimated annual space budget of more than EUR 200 million. Most funding for space is allocated via the European Space Agency (ESA), although there are additional national space research activities and defence related space expenditure. Belgium also contributes to other international organisations including e.g. EUMETSAT, ESO and ECMWF. Finally, Belgium’s industry and academia are involved in European Union funded space programmes and activities, including FP-7. In 2008, Belgium subscribed for EUR 948 million for the period 2009-2013 at the 2008 ESA Ministerial Council in The Hague. In November 2012, at the ESA Ministerial Council in Naples, Belgium subscribed EUR 1018 million for the period 2013-2017. EUR 477.5 million of these funds is allocated to the general budget and previous commitments. EUR 511.5 million was earmarked for new commitments for ESA programmes and EUR 29 million for new commitments in other – bilateral or multilateral – space programmes. In Naples, Belgium made subscriptions to the following ESA optional programmes:
- EOEP-4 (EUR 16 million)
- Metop-SG (EUR 21.5 million)
- EW ProbaV exploitation (EUR 31.1 million)
- ISS exploitation (EUR 39.6 million)
- ELIPS (core and technology programme) (EUR 17 million)
- ARTES 1 (EUR 0.8 million)
- ARTES 14 (NEOSAT) (EUR 12 million)
- ARTES 20 (IAP) (EUR 1.8 million)
- ARTES 21 (AIS) (EUR 36.3 million) - ARTES 33 (EUR 5.6 million)
- GNSS Evolution Programme (EGEP) (EUR 1.3 million)
- Adapted Ariane 5ME and Ariane 6 (EUR 24 million)
- FLPP (EUR 7.3 million)
- IXV (EUR 1.5 million)
- LEAP (EUR 23.9 million)
- VECEP (EUR 9.4 million)
- SSA (EUR 10.6 million)
- GSTP (EUR 105 million)
- SMI (EUR 36.7 million)
- Prodex (EUR 75 million)
(Source and more information: Belspo, ESA Council at Ministerial Level (Naples 20-21 November 2012), 3 December 2012)
Belgium has a dedicated federal law governing space activities since 17 September 2005 (published on16 November 2005). (Source and more information: Belspo, The Belgian Space Law)
Belgium’s space competence primarily resides with the Belgium Federal government, although also the regional entities of Belgium have increasing stakes in space. The Secretary of State in charge of space policy is Mr Philippe Courard, Secretary of State for Social Affairs, Families, the Handicapped and Science Policy, in charge of Occupational Hazards (Source and more information: BHRS, The Belgian space policy).
More information about the Belgian space budget, activities and governance can be found on the following publication of the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI): Space activities and Governance and the Role of Regional Authorities: Belgium Case Study
Young Space Activities Overview in Belgium
Some photos from 2011!
Brussels symbol "Manneke Pis" was dressed up as a cosmonaut for the occasion of 50 years Yuri Gagarin
Belgium’s NPOCs are active in the field contributing to various activities linked to space. These endeavours have led to the recent creation of beSPACE, an organisation from and for young space enthusiasts in Belgium. Both Sarah Moens and Maarten Adriaensen are Co-founders of this non-profit organisation. Sarah Moens has further more taken up duty as President of beSPACE.
Through this organisation, they attempt not only to create awareness and passion for space activities within the Belgian borders; they also carry out the SGAC message by providing for Belgian students and young professionals the opportunity to inject their thoughts, views and opinions on the direction of international space policy. The biggest event of beSPACE is the yearly Space Dinner, which typically reaches a crowd of more than 100 space professionals and students. You will find pictures of the latest space dinner on the right side of this page. Next to the Space Dinner, beSPACE also organizes visits to space companies and info sessions about careers in space.
Country-Specific Events in 2015
- Flemish Stargazing days (27-28 March 2015): Organised all over the country, for more information check the Stargazing Days homepage.
- SpaceUp Belgium (5-6 September 2015): see www.spaceup.be.
- The ODISSEA-Competition: Each year a prize is awarded to one or more students in their final year of a University or College in Europe for his/her thesis.
- Space Camps and Internships: All year long the Euro Space Centre in Transinne organises Space camps and Space internships.
- The Brussels chapter of Women in Aerospace (WIA) is organizing two-monthly a 'get together'.
- See here for many more activities.
Interesting Web Links for the Young Generation in Belgium
Euro Space Centre
Royal Observatory of Belgium
Public Observatory Urania
Public Observatory Armand Pien
Public Observatory Mira
Public Observatory Beisbroeck
An overview of all astronomical societies
Belgian Earth Observation Platform (BEOP)
Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
Belgian Science Policy Office
Mars Society Belgium
Flemish Space Industries