Galileo satellite
Galileo satellite © ESA-P. Carril

Switzerland works closely with the EU and its member states on space policy. Switzerland was a founding member of the European Space Agency (ESA), based in Paris, in 1975. In addition to the current 19 EU member states, the EU as a whole has also been a member of the ESA since 2004. In 2013, Switzerland signed a cooperation agreement with the EU and its member states on cooperation in the EU's Galileo satellite navigation programme. There are currently 28 Galileo navigation satellites in space; to complete the constellation, two more satellites are to be sent into space by 2024. The satellites already provide highly precise navigation data and Galileo is considered the world's most modern and precise navigation system. This is due to high-precision atomic clocks, some of which are produced by Swiss companies. The navigation data are currently used by more than 3 billion terminals worldwide - mobile phones, vehicle navigation systems, etc. In the spring of 2022, the Federal Council also decided to seek participation in the EU's Copernicus environmental observation programme, which provides satellite data for Earth observation, e.g. regarding land use, land use changes, forestation, glacier spread or greenhouse gas emissions. The EU is currently setting up another space programme for a secure internet connection from space called IRIS2, which is also being partially implemented by ESA. Switzerland is closely following the developments in this programme, is participating in its development through the corresponding ESA projects and will consider joining this programme in the future.

Further information on Switzerland's activities in the area of space can be found on the website of the Swiss Space Office, which is located at the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation.