Cyprus signed a Cooperation Agreement with ESA on 27 August 2009. The objective of this agreement is to allow Cyprus and ESA to create the framework for more-intensive cooperation in ESA projects in the future.
ESA’s Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations, Peter Hulsroj, and the Cypriot Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Communications and Works, Michael Constantinides, signed the agreement in Nicosia, in the presence of Nicos Nicolaides, the Minister of Communications and Works.
Contacts and discussions with ESA started in 2005 through the Cypriot embassy in Paris. Following a visit of an ESA delegation to Nicosia in January 2009, the Ministry of Communications and Works was appointed as the ESA counterpart. Both Minister Nicolaides and Permanent Secretary Constantinides expressed their intention to be ‘active partners’ of ESA in line with the capacities and competences of the island.
The Cypriot government has reserved the geostationary orbital position currently utilised by the HELLAS-SAT II satellite (39°), owned by Hellas-Sat Consortium Ltd. Hellas-Sat is a joint venture between Cyprus and Greece, which operates two satellite control centres, one in Nicosia and the other in Athens, Greece.
An ‘Advisory Committee’ to deal with space issues has also been created. The group, composed of representatives from the University of Cyprus, the Frederick University and Hellas-Sat, work under the umbrella of the Ministry of Communications and Works. This Ministry is now responsible for the formulation and implementation of a national space strategy.
ESA experts will give some support to identify possible common projects. Environmental issues, especially maritime surveillance, are sensitive areas where Cyprus could play a more active role in space. Education is also one of the priorities presented by the Minister and the Permanent Secretary.