Technology advancements have great impact on the space sector, both upstream and downstream, bringing the space sector to an era of automation, connectivity and sustainability, decreasing costs and speeding up the delivery of innovative solutions.

Several new approaches to these topics have, for instance, been proposed in the EU, notably the 2021 proposal of the Artificial Intelligence Act, which may impact the development and use of AI applications within the space context. In addition, other technology related proposals may also be relevant for the space sector. This is the case, for instance, of the Proposal for a Regulation on Markets in Crypto-assets (MiCA), issued in late 2020, and of the proposal for amendment of the eIDAS Regulation, which will cover electronic ledgers and is thus relevant for the use of DLT / Blockchain in the space sector. An European Chips Act is also expected in 2022, aimed at building a European semi-conductors ecosystem.

Other initiatives were announced, such as the new Observatory of Critical Technologies for Defence, Space and Related Civil Industries, aimed to identify, monitor and assess critical technologies for the sector, potential applications and related value and supply chains.

On the other hand, stakeholders may leverage the momentum given to such technologies by partaking the extensive R&D and funding opportunities announced in 2021. In the EU, in addition to other programmes, the Commission launched a first set of calls for proposals under the Digital Europe Programme, which has an overall budget of EUR 7.5 billion forthe period 2021-2027.