HCSS Space Research
HCSS provides insights, knowledge and answers to space related safety and security issues for the world, for Europe and for the Netherlands.
A Dutch Space Strategy
Ever-more advanced technology has brought outer space increasingly in humanity’s reach. Interest in space has not only been scientific and economic, however, but also geopolitical. The Netherlands is a small country – but it is nonetheless well-positioned to benefit from these developments. Satellites are key to the Netherlands’ military capabilities. Several strategic processes, from the execution of beyond line of sight (BLOS) operations to nuclear deterrence, are dependent on satellites.
The economic relevance of space
Currently, space’s value is primarily derived from satellites orbiting Earth. A 2019 study found that 87.5% of the $277bn in revenues generated in space could be attributed to commercial satellite services. These services are of critical importance to the functioning of the (inter)national economy. Positioning, timing, and navigation (PNT), communications, and Earth observation services form the backbone of many essential processes, such as fleet management or bank transactions.
Space and the Energy Transition
In the longer term, space is also likely to play a role in the global energy transition. For example, the rare earth elements (REEs) contained in celestial bodies are in increasingly limited supply on Earth and are required for many renewable technologies. For the Netherlands, involvement in these issues is essential for the energy transition, and for a continued economic growth. Well-managed, commercially proactive, and internationally regulated initiatives to unlock and safeguard the space domain’s huge potential could contribute to European strategic autonomy. Badly managed initiatives could see an intensification of interstate competition and the deterioration of public services resulting in dire economic consequences.