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Bulgaria to fund space technology SMEs through 1.2 mln euro grant

Bulgaria to fund space technology SMEs through 1.2 mln euro grant Artist's impression of space-based solar power station. Image credit: Frazer-Nash Consultancy

SOFIA (Bulgaria), June 10 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria will kick off in July an auction process to award 2.4 million levs ($1.3 million/1.2 million euro) in state grants to businesses and researchers under a programme designed to boost development of space technology in the country, the innovation ministry said on Friday.

Application criteria for the programme agreed with the European Space Agency (ESA) will be finalised next week, with calls for applications to remain open until September, the ministry said in an emailed statement.

Bulgarian micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and research organisations could each receive between 70,000 levs and 800,000 levs to develop projects and applications related to the aviation segment, equipment or products suitable for ESA missions, technology demonstrations, market research or modelling activities in space engineering.

Earlier this week, the Bulgarian parliament ratified a new cooperation agreement between the government and the ESA, which the parties signed in February to extend their collaboration. The agreement for a European Cooperating State with ESA aims to increase the readiness of the Bulgarian space sector for full participation in upcoming ESA programmes, the ministry said at the time.

The ESA has to date approved 37 projects from Bulgaria, including a dosimeter, a device used to measure space radiation on Mars.

Last month, Bulgarian software-defined space services company Endurosat successfully launched its second mission into low earth orbit in partnership with IBM and Red Hat Technology.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)

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