The EU announced in late January that they will be launching Cassini, a brand new scheme that will provide funding to innovative startups in the space sector. The project is named after Giovanni Domenico Cassini, an Italian-French astronomer who made numerous discoveries about the planet Saturn.
Officials from the European Commission, European Investment Bank and European Investment Fund committed to providing at least €1 billion euros of the course of five years. They hope that this funding will stop space companies in the early stages of their development from turning to other funding sources such as the US.
Thiery Breton of the European Commission made this clear at the funding announcement. “Many of our startups cannot get the equity investment they need in Europe. They have no choice but to turn to non-E.U. investors. Of course, this is a loss of opportunity and also a major risk for Europe.”
“Europe is full of ideas, it’s full of energy, but they need the means to transform these ideas into projects, into program and into activities”, Josef Aschbacher, the European Space Agency’s director general added. It is hoped that Cassini will allow Europe’s potential to be reached in the space sector.
Although the launch provided few details of how this programme will be run or how the funds will be spent, business leaders welcomed the announcement. “In five years, the number of possibilities that have been developed and implemented by institutions is just incredible,” said Nicolas Capet, chief executive of Anywaves. Cassini, it seems, will provide even more.
For more details about the programme click here.