An overwhelming response to the SURE initiative awaited the SURE team in Romania: 80 participants from the industrial and science sector attended the information workshop in Bucharest.
The successful workshop triggered a lively discussion during the questions and answers session. The audience’s enthusiasm was sparked by the surprise appearance of Romanian Cosmonaut Dumitru Prunariu, whose spaceflight on a Soviet mission in 1981 will see its 25th anniversary this year.
“Romania is knowledgeable in space applications, profiting from its experience in the Soviet space programme”, says SURE Promotion Campaign organiser Elena Lippi, from ESA’s commercialisation division. “Both scientists and representatives of Small Medium Enterprises were very interested in exploring the unique chance ESA offers them through the SURE initiative.”
The Romanian Space Agency’s space programme started in 1993, one of its mandates being to develop new space technologies, space spin-offs and commercial space applications. In 1999, Romania signed an agreement with ESA, opening the possibility of participation of Romania in ESA programmes. Thus, Romania has contributed to ESA missions like Planck, Rosetta, Cluster and Envisat. Since 2001, Romania realised 108 space projects involving national research and development institutes, academies, universities and commercial companies.
The president of the Romanian Space Agency, Marius Ioan Piso, explained the importance of the SURE announcement of opportunity: “Romania is the third ex-communist country, after the Czech Republic and Hungary, to sign a cooperation agreement with the European Space Agency. Right now, the European Space Agency counts 15 EU member states and soon there will also beRomania. ESA and the European Union proposed the participation of Romanian scientists and industry to scientific experiments, applications and technology development for the market on board the International Space Station (ISS). There are certain high-tech products that can only be achieved in microgravity conditions. These conditions that do not exist on Earth, are made available by ESA and the ISS.”
The day after the SURE workshop, Romania signed the European Cooperating States Agreement, a bilateral engagement between Romania and ESA, which allows Romania to participate indirectly in all ESA procurements and activities.