European Space Policy Institue (ESPI)



Observer since 2013
Official Website (external link):


Mission Statement

The European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) provides decision-makers with an informed view on mid- to longterm issues relevant to Europe's space activities. In this context, ESPI acts as an independent platform for developing positions and strategies.

The Institute

ESPI was established following a decision by the Council of the European Space Agency (ESA). Based in Vienna, it is structured as an association under Austrian Law. It incorporates a number of member institutions drawn from European agencies, operators and companies.
Governing Bodies
ESPI is supervised by a General Assembly comprised of representatives of its member institutions. An Advisory Council of renowned personalities supports the Director in shaping the work of the Institute.
ESPI's staff consists of Resident Fellows seconded from member institutions, as well as Project Managers and Research Interns recruited from across Europe. In addition, ESPI hosts Visiting Researchers from Europe and abroad.


An Independent Think Tank
Space has become an important vehicle for achieving objectives in key policy areas including security, economic development, mobility and resource management. It generates knowledge and innovation and contributes to Europe's identity and capabilities. Europe requires perspectives on how to manage mid- and long-term challenges in exploiting the full potential space holds for society. ESPI responds to these needs through independent analyses and advice, with the aim of establishing space as a strategic policy area for Europe.
Advising Decision-Makers
The main audience for ESPI's products and activities is European decision-makers. ESPI provides recommendations, policy options and strategic vision as to how Europe's engagement in space can bring maximum benefit to society.
ESPI's work also reflects how space can contribute to Europe's unique role in global politics as a strong and principled actor.


"ESPI Reports" combine thorough analysis with strategy, vision and concrete policy recommendations. They are prepared by ESPI Fellows in the course of what are normally half-year projects. ESPI also conducts studies commissioned by external partners.
"ESPI Perspectives" are short and concise papers prepared by ESPI staff and by external contributors.
Memoranda and Position Papers
Together with other think tanks, ESPI produces memoranda and position papers on topical and breaking issues.
ESPI edits two book series at SpringerWienNewYork: the "Yearbook on Space Policy" and "Studies in Space Policy".
Information Services
ESPI maintains a comprehensive space policy library and offers associated online services (e.g. documents and event calendars) for professionals and researchers


ESPI maintains the European Space Policy and Academic Network (ESPRAN). This network provides a platform for joint activities involving the Institute and persons and institutions engaged in space policy research in Europe and abroad. It also serves as a venue for interaction with other related policy fields and academic communities, including the humanities.
ESPI is tasked by the Presidencies of the European Interparliamentary Space Conference (EISC) to support the management of this initiative and the organisation of its annual conferences. ESPI also maintains the EISC website (
ESPI functions as the Ambassador Platform for the Central and Eastern Europe region in the framework of the Awareness Activities of ESA's Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) Programme.

ESPI's role and the value gained in the ICG

Governance issues are one of the themes on which ESPI is undertaking a series of studies through case studies, involving applications including a significant space component. The case study regarding GNSS is currently under development and started in 1993. From ESPI view point we consider it as particularly relevant as full operational capabilities of the four global and two constellations will be available by the end of this decade.
ESPI could present to the ICG:
  • Some scenarii about possible governance schemes for the post 2020 GNSS services, reflecting the importance of the market forces which are underpinned by continuous fast evolving technologies;
  • Views about the importance of understanding and planning for civilian users needs in order to help possible tailoring of GNSS services to come;
  • Thoughts on the generating modes of GNSS signals and their world wide usage that could make these signals to be considered as a World Public Good (WPG): indeed they bare a number of charateristics that the question is worth asking if they could be eligible for such a label.
In view of the above mentioned studies, ESPI would benefit of first hand information by attending the ICG meetings plenary sessions under the Observer status and participating in working Groups, namely WGA and WGB as a start. It recognizes that, as of today, ICG is the most relevant platform for an open exchange of views on these topics. In particular, compatibility, interoperability, interference detection and mitigation (IMD), integrity are paramount factors for ensuring a smooth development for the global governance to come.
Attendance to the ICG meetings is also an opportunity to get exposed to some pending issues, have a better sense of the general problematics that are facing the GNSS providers, hence helping ESPI to produce and publish more relevant and reliable information on the future governance of GNSS.
Finally, the information gained through the ICG is also of interest for ESPI involvement in its implication as a partner of the Integrated Application Programme (IAP) platform within ESA member states.

Publications and reports related to ICG activities and GNSS applications

  • Enjeux technologiques et économiques: les utilisations civiles de l'espace , Serge Plattard, Questions internationales n°67, p. 63, Mai-juin 2014 (in French) .
  • Les systèmes de navigation par satellite - les signaux GNSS, nouveau bien public mondial ?, Serge Plattard, Questions internationales n°67, p. 73, Mai-juin 2014 (in French) .
  • Can GNSS signals qualify to become a World Public Good?, S. Plattard, abstract submitted for a paper presentation, 27 th Symposium on Space Policy, regulations and economy, 65 th International Astronautical Congress, Toronto, 29 September-03 October 2014 .
  • Recent Development in Japan's Space Policy: The Quasi-Zenith Satellite Programme and the Space Policy Making Progress, Hideaki Shiroyama, in Yearbook on Space Ploicy 2010/2011:The Forward Look, p. 207-221, Edited by the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), Springer (2013) .
  • Institutional development of satellite navigation in Europe, Heike Wieland (interview), in Yearbook on Space Policy 2009/2010: Space for Society, p. 217-229, Edited by the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), SprigerWienNewYork (2011) .
  • Less Known, but Crucial Elements of the European Space Flagship Programmes: Public Perception and International Aspects of Galileo/EGNOS and GMES, Chritina Giannopa, ESPI Report 34, ISSN: 2076-6688, May 2011.
  • Views on Public Perception and International Aspects of the European Space Flagship Programmes Galileo/EGNOS and GMES, edited by Christina Giannopapa and Gai Oren, ESPI Report 33, ISSN: 2076-6688, May 2011.
  • Policy Aspects of Third Party Liability in Satellite Navigation. Preparing a Roadmap for Europe, edited by Alfredo Roma, Kai-Uwe Schrogl and Matxalen Sánchez Aranzamendi, ESPI Report 19, July 2009.
  • Galileo and the issue of public funding, Laurence Nardon, in Yearbook on Space Policy: From Policies to Programmes, p. 125-137, Edited by the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), SPringerWienNewYork (2009) .
  • What's the problem with Europe's flagships Galileo and GMES?, Serge Plattard, inYearbook on Space Policy 2006/2007: New Impetus for Europe, p. 153-166, Edited bythe European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), SpringerWienNewYork (2008).

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