National Points of Contact Belgium
Welcome to the country page of the SGAC Belgium!
The main objective of the SGAC Belgium is to reach and connect students and young professionals in order to inspire Belgium’s next space generation.
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 board the ISS in 2009. During this mission, he was commander of ISS Expedition 21, becoming the 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 to the European Space Agency (ESA), although there are additional national space research activities and defence related space expenditure. Belgium is home to ESA’s European Space Security and Education Centre (ESEC) in Redu, where most of ESA Academy’s workshops take place. Belgium also contributes to other international organisations including EUMETSAT, ESO and ECMWF. Finally, Belgium’s industry and academia are involved in European Union funded space programmes and activities, such as FP-7 and Horizon 2020.
Belgium’s space competence primarily resides with the Belgian federal government, although the regional entities of Belgium have increasing stakes in space as well. In charge of space policy is M. David Clarinval.
The Belgian High Representation for Space Policy (BHRS) defends the interests of Belgium within the international institutions which address space policy. The scientific aspects of the space policy are managed by the space division of BELSPO, the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office. Be sure to check their website for National Trainee Opportunities at ESA!
Belgium also has a federal scientific research institute called ‘’The Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BIRA-IASB)’’. Its main tasks are research and public service in space aeronomy, which is the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere of the Earth and other planets, and of outer space.
Young Space Activities Overview in Belgium
Belgium’s NPOCs and the local team are active in the field contributing to various activities linked to space. They are collaborating with other like minded organisations to create awareness and passion for space activities within the Belgian borders. Here are some of our partners:
For more info about our partners, please visit their websites.
In addition, the Belgian team organizes or contributes to the organisation of several events to 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.
Here follow some examples of events organized in the past:
- SGAC Belgium supports beSPACE in organizing the yearly Space Dinner. It’s a networking evening usually hosted at the Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium. The evening consists of inspiring presentations, an awards ceremony, a free Planetarium show and a walking dinner.
- SGAC Winter Dinner 2019. It was a small scale networking event bringing together about 20 space enthusiasts, animated by an outstanding talk provided by Nancy Vermeulen from the Nancy Vermeulen Space Training Academy and enjoying a three course dinner at a local restaurant in Brussels.
- SGAC Belgian Space Quiz. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the SGAC Belgian team organized an online quiz around the topic of space. It made for a fun evening of trivia which in addition provided an opportunity to connect SGAC members around the world.
Currently, the Belgian SGAC team is working on a local newsletter covering a variety of space related topics from the SGAC organisation, SGAC and other space related events, local industry activities, etc. So stay tuned and keep an eye on your mailbox. If you are not yet registered to our mailing list, be sure to do it here.
Finally, The Belgian SGAC team keeps close ties to the Belgian space industry. Several of our members are employed by players in the industry. Hereby the team maintains a strong connection to the local industry and keeps up to date on the latest activities in Belgium. This also gives the opportunity to communicate the inputs from the SGAC members to local industry
Country-Specific Events in 2020
- Space Careers in Belgium (Panel Discussion), 3 November, 2020
- The 8th Space Dinner by beSPACE, 26 March, 2020
- Switch to Space 2 by YouSpace, 5-13 October, 2020
- The ODISSEA-Competition
Interesting Web Links
- Central Belgian Space Website
- Euro Space Society
- ESA Belgium
- Euro Space Center
- EUROAVIA Leuven/Brussels
- EUROAVIA Ostend
- Royal Observatory of Belgium
- Public Observatory Urania
- Public Observatory Armand Pien
- Public Observatory Mira
- Public Observatory Beisbroeck
- Astronomical Society (Vereniging voor Sterrenkunde)
- Belgian Earth Observation Platform (BEOP)
- Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy
- Belgian Science Policy Office
- Mars Society Belgium
- Flemish Space Industries
- Wallonie Espace