Latvia becomes the seventh country to sign the European Cooperating State Agreement with ESA.
This agreement strengthens Latvia’s relations with ESA as the country follows Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Estonia and Slovenia in joining this status.
Latvia was the first country from the recent EU Member States to approach ESA. In March 2004, an ESA delegation visited Latvian organisations dealing with navigation and space applications. Latvia has a heritage of involvement in space and considerable experience in space technology. For example, Latvia had a role in the development of polyurethane foam insulation and heatshield ceramics (using nano-powders) used on the Buran space shuttle.
The first legal step in the cooperation was the signature of the Cooperation Agreement between Latvia and ESA in 2009. An expert ESA team visited Latvian industries and research institutes in 2010, finding that Latvian entrepreneurs and institutions were ready to be more involved in ESA’s activities.
During the coming months, ESA and Latvia will have to complete the list of projects that will be presented for approval to the relevant ESA Committees and Programme Boards, and Latvian organisations will be briefed and trained by ESA representatives.