The Swiss government has adopted a new federal space policy to address outer space’s rapid developments and increasing importance. The policy recognizes the crucial role of satellite-based applications in communication, navigation, weather forecasting, climate analysis, security, and defence.
The policy is based on three main strands: “access and resiliency,” which involves leveraging Switzerland’s membership in international bodies to push national interests and promote sustainability; “competitiveness and relevance,” aimed at boosting the country’s already firm standing in space research and innovation; and “partnership and reliability,” which seeks to strengthen rules-based multilateral governance of space.
Switzerland’s participation in various international bodies was explicitly mentioned, including the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Space Agency (ESA), and various UN bodies. Switzerland pledged a contribution of CHF 600 million ($667 million) to the ESA budget for the next three years in November.
The new federal space policy is expected to enhance Switzerland’s competitiveness and reliability in the space domain, particularly in the face of the rising number of players in the industry both in Switzerland and abroad. In addition, the country is training a new generation of astronauts, with 33-year-old Marco Sieber selected to be trained at the ESA’s European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany. If successful, Sieber will become only the second Swiss astronaut in history.