Space research, development of space technology, space technology applications and international cooperation form the basis of Finland’s space activities. Space related activities aim to benefit the Finnish economy and to accelerate the international competitiveness of Finnish companies.
The most important public funding organisation for space activities in Finland is Tekes. Tekes also coordinates the cooperation between Finland and the European Space Agency ESA. The funding consists mainly of company research, development and innovation funding and ministries’ budgeted funding for universities and other research organisations.
Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for the space policy in Finland.
History of Finland’s space activities
Finland became member of COSPAR (Committee on Space Research) in 1964. During the 60s satellite communication and use of earth observation satellites’ data and images began in Finland.
In 70s the basics of the Finnish space weather knowhow were created by developing e.g. radio technologies and earth magnetic field research.
The first significant Finnish space project took place in the 80s when the Russian Phobos-1 probe received a plasm analysator, Aspera. It was developed through Swedish-Russian-Finnish cooperation. Aspera was launched to Mars in 1988. During 80s the Finnish space science was also expanded to component manufacturing and satellite positioning. In 1987 Finland became associate member of ESA and cooperation Russia increased.
In 1995 Finland received full ESA membership and was accepted to ESA’s technology programmes. After this the Finnish space activities were strongly expanded to European cooperation. Today Finnish companies have participated in manufacturing of 20 satellites. During the ESA full membership appr. 30 Finnish companies have embarked on space activities. In addition, ESA membership has opened doors to international research projects for Finnish universities and research organisations.
During 90’s Finland has strengthened international cooperation further and worked e.g. with NASA and space organisations of Denmark, France, Russia, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Image: This Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR) multitemporal colour composite image shows an area of 100 km swath width centred over the ice-covered Gulf of Finland. (ESA)