In what can be dubbed as an unprecedented boost for European Space Agency (ESA) and its space missions, Ministers in charge for space matters from ESA’s 22 member states plus Slovenia and Canada sidelined the Schiaparelli lander’s recent failure and pledged to allocate a whopping €10.3 billion in funds for the space agency’s future missions.
The decision was announced at the recently concluded two-day Council meeting at ministerial level in Lucerne, Switzerland wherein €10.3 billion was allocated for ESA’s space activities and programmes based on the vision of a United Space in Europe in the era of Space 4.0. ESA says that the funding at this level demonstrates yet again that ESA’s Member States consider space as a strategic and attractive investment with a particularly high socio-economic value.
Schiaparelli’s failure ignited speculations of possible repercussions in terms of decline in funding, but with allocation of €10.3 billion, there is a strong signal that ESA member states still believe in the space ageny’s capabilities to conceptualize, shape and organize the change in the European space sector and in ESA itself.
€2.5 billion was allocated to maximise the integration of space into European society and economy; €1.4 billion was allocated to foster a globally competitive European space sector; €1.8 billion was allocated to ensure European autonomy in accessing and using space in a safe and secure environment; and €4.6 billion was allocated for developing a firm foundation in excellence in space science and technology.
Further, the summit also saw the Ministers in charge of space matters declaring their support for ESA’s Director General’s vision for Europe in space and the role and development of ESA. This will enable ESA to commit itself to inform, innovate, interact and inspire in the Space 4.0i era. The funding and the support will enable ESA to build on commercialization, participation, digitalization, jobs and growth, the concept of “United Space in Europe” will soon become a reality, the space agency revealed in a press note.