Cyprus is set to be a player in the field of space technologies which have revolutionised our ability to manage the earth’s resources, Deputy Minister of Research and Innovation Nikodemos Damianiou said on Monday.

“Determined to be part of space [technologies] development, Cyprus has taken a number of steps at a policy, regulatory and business level, focusing largely on the areas of satellite communications, earth observation and space navigation,” the minister said.

He was speaking at a two-day geoinformation and remote sensing conference in Paphos.

The space technologies conference, RSCY2024, offers scientists and policy makers to discover new ways of transforming the world, the minister said.

He added that Cyprus formulated a national space strategy in 2023 and developed a national space law to authorise and supervise space activities.

“We are also working in close collaboration with the ministry of defence to explore opportunities arising from the new European space strategy for security and defence,” he said.

The country has made strides in the area of satellite communications including establishing gateway facilities and satellite ground stations for major European operators, as well as four satellites in orbit, using Cypriot assets, Damianou said.

These acts were in line with the state’s intent to become a regional telecommunications hub, capitalising on its geographical location, the minister noted.

Cyprus is one of four countries in Europe hosting a receiving earth station deployed as part of the search and rescue service of the EU Galileo system, for detecting and locating emergency beacons, he noted.

“Our strategic role in the area […] is further highlighted by the decision of the agency for the European Space Programmes to deploy two ground stations in Cyprus for the operation of EU EGNOS system, used to improve global navigation for aviation, maritime and land-based users,” the minister added.

To further strengthen local capacity the state is committed to enhancing relations with the European Space Agency (ESA), with which it has established a new agreement, with annual investment of €3 million, Damianou disclosed.

Additionally, his ministry is working towards the establishment of a space business incubation centre and a local space cluster, while supporting Cypriot participation in ESA programmes and offering access to funding via the research and innovation foundation.

“Such opportunities focus on turning research results into products and bringing them to market. Focus areas include the use of earth observation and remote sensing technologies for various purposes, such as smart applications in agriculture, ship management, monitoring of climate change and environmental conditions, as well as conservation of cultural heritage,” Damianou said.

Noting that the Eratosthenes Centre of Excellence is a key partner, the minister praised work carried out at the institute as crucial for strengthening Cyprus’s involvement in the sector and generating new opportunities for innovative research and partnerships.