Estonia Has Become a Space State
Estonia is not a newcomer in space research. In the middle of the last century, the scientists from the Estonian Academy of Sciences and universities participated in several space programmes of the Soviet Union, but when Estonia restored its independence, this close cooperation was discontinued.
A new attempt to join the space states began in 2006, when the Space Policy Working Group was established. Its main task was to analyse if Estonia has the capability to work in the field of space research, especially the space economy, and develop high technology trends. It was understood in Europe already 50 years ago that nowadays no country, and especially a small country, is able to develop its space capabilities by itself, and the European Space Agency (ESA), where only states can be members, was established. The most outstanding project of Estonia during the new period of space cooperation is without doubt the building of the student satellite ESTCube-1 and launching it to the space on the ESA launch vehicle Vega-1. This event was widely covered both in Estonian and the international media, and thanks to the successful start, Estonia became the 42nd space state in the world.
Why did I for nine years involve myself in helping Estonian young people participate in programmes connected with space research? As a professor of the University of Tartu I understood that it is my duty to give young people as many possibilities as I can. The possibility to deal with space research is one of them. Thanks to my position in Estonian political life, it was easier for me to prove the politicians that it is very necessary that Estonia would be one of the space states. I believe that it is the role of the state to offer people possibilities, and it is the task of the people to realise them. When Estonia becomes a member of the European Space Agency, Estonia and its talented young people will have new paths for developing and implementing of space technologies.