Cross-administrative authorisation process
The Act on Space Activities (63/2018) provides that the sector’s authorisation authority is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. In other words, an application for authorisation must be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, which also issues a decision on the application, but the ministry does not work alone in the authorisation process.
The authorisation process requires cross-administrative cooperation, as the prerequisites for granting the authorisation are divided into several administrative branches of expertise. For this reason, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will request statements from other authorities when processing applications for the authorisation of space operating.
A sufficient amount of time must be reserved for statements, which has been taken into account in the deadline set for applications for the authorisation of space activities: According to section 1 of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment Decree on Space Activities (74/2018) an application for authorisation must be submitted to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment at latest six (6) months before the intended launch of a space object. Section 2 of the Decree lists which information and appendices must be provided in the application. It should be noted that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment can only request statements once the applicant has submitted the necessary information so that the conditions for granting authorisation can be examined. An incomplete application may delay the commencement of consultation rounds.
Once of the prerequisites for granting authorisation is that the operator has the financial capacity to engage in space activities. When examining the fulfilment of the prerequisites, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has normally requested an opinion from Business Finland, which can comment on such issues as the applicant's financial situation and business prospects.
A prerequisite for granting the permit is that space activities do not conflict with national security interests, Finland's international obligations or Finland's foreign policy interests. Compliance with export controls must also be ensured. When examining the fulfilment of these conditions, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment requests statements from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In particular, the Ministry of Defence may give statements on compliance with national security interests and matters related to the export of defence equipment. In particular, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs may comment on compliance with Finland's international obligations and foreign policy interests as well as matters related to the export of dual-use items.
Authorisation shall also be subject to the operator’s compliance with the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) currently valid rules. In order to ensure this, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment requests a statement from the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency on the status of the applicant's ITU procedures and national radio licence.
In addition, a technical expert assessment will be carried out to assess the safety of the activities and the associated risks and the appropriateness of the risk assessment provided by the applicant. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment may acquire technical expert assessments from e.g. the European Space Agency (ESA), the Finnish Meteorological Institute or VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.