Malta Won’t Launch Rockets Into Space, But It Wants To Gain ‘International Respect’ In Space Sector

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Tiny Malta often dreams big and that’s exactly the way it should be! But as the Ministry for Equality, Research & Innovation presented its first-ever consultation document to start developing the Malta National Space Strategy, the chair of the space task force, Omar Cutajar did point out that the strategy isn’t aimed as a means to launch rockets into space. Rather, let’s start with some baby steps.

In his introduction, Minister Owen Bonnici writes that “The time is right for Malta to implement its first National Space Strategy which will enable the development and expansion of a sustainable space sector and research capacity”.

Surely, this is very exciting news for people who have already had a go at space-related projects such as Project Maleth, Malta’s Stratospheric Balloon and James Catania’s awesome use of a radar he built himself to communicate with a satellite in space.

Prof. Joseph Borg is leading Project Maleth

The consultation document details the strategy pillars and looks into a long list of proposed strategic actions.

The draft document provides a model for the development of the space sector. The aim is for Malta to make “concrete progress” by 2027 towards an economically sustainable and internationally-respected space sector, with ancillary economic services and creating quality employment careers for the future.

Driven by a set of thematic goals, the document covers themes that are founded upon 5 strategic pillars:

  1. Foreign Direct Investment & Space Business attraction
  2. Space Innovation
  3. Develop & Attract Skilled Human Capital
  4. International Regulatory Compliance
  5. Emerging Technologies

Some important points in the strategy are for Malta to build a stronger relationship with the European Space Agency, support startups in space innovation, seek education and training opportunities, and focus on space technology to drive innovation.

The draft strategy also incorporates Malta’s new Space Policy Framework by way of an extensive update and expansion of the 2017 MCST Space Policy with the aim of providing solid guidance and policy direction to support the initial growth of a novel space economy in Malta until 2027. The national strategic direction will then be adjusted and updated in line with sectoral requirements.

Those wishing to submit their views and suggestions on the strategy are invited to do so by sending an email to publicconsultations.mfer@gov.mt. The deadline for submissions is 4 March 2022.

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