“Europe must increase its investment in space or remain on the sidelines” (Josef Aschbacher, ESA)

“Europe must increase its investment in space or remain on the sidelines” (Josef Aschbacher, ESA)

Just over a year after taking over as ESA President, Director General Joseph Asbacher no longer had his time. A year ago, he had already completed his negotiations with the European Union on defining their respective powers in managing space programs and setting up “Agenda 2025” to determine the objectives of his mandate. A year later, he was able to count for him two European summits, one in Portugal last October to prepare for the main ministerial council next November, during which the European countries will decide the next major programmes, and the other in Toulouse, note. Through political investment at the highest level with the intervention of Emmanuel Macron and important decisions on sovereignty.

He also had to contend with the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions that followed, reducing the cooperation that had often existed for several decades. Only the International Space Station has survived it so far. “In one year, I’m two or three years old”Get to know Josef Schbacher.

Launchers, turrets, exploration…

“Europe has no choice and must increase its investments in space or stay by the wayside.”He thinks, because the rest of the world is experiencing a meteor acceleration. “We are very good at what we do but it will not be enough.”, he is referring to. He mentions how the European space has already risen to a global high in most areas, yet this place is not being snapped up. Not only does the European Space Agency’s budget remain three times less than that of NASA, but since 2020 it has also been exceeded by private investment.

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This topic is one of the priorities of Agenda 2025: Europe must not be left behind in regions with strong trade potential. This is especially true for very high-speed launchers or turrets, but also for exploration, whether robotic or manned, beyond low-Earth orbits. “We have the distinction to offer”Confirms.

Break the record for 2019

The European Summit in Versailles on March 10-11, in response to the invasion of Ukraine, highlighted the need to adapt space programs to defense and security imperatives. The competencies exist at the national level, but not yet at the union level. Therefore, it provides policy makers with the assistance of the European Space Agency to develop it.

In the meantime, he has already launched five projects: three to support the acceleration of space policy and two to give it the necessary inspiration. The “accelerators” Focus on space support for a proactive environmental policy, on means of responding to crises and ensuring network resilience, and on protecting European space resources. Inspiration will come from manned exploration – to be defined by a panel of “wise” Outer Space — and an ambitious initiative to return samples from one of the icy moons of Jupiter or Saturn that potentially harbors life.

Preparations for the Paris ministerial meeting at the end of the year are in full swing. “We will make a more ambitious proposal than was the case in 2019 in Seville”, confirms Josef Schbacher. In Seville, European countries decided to invest 14.38 billion euros over five years. The European Space Agency really wants to surpass the amount of Seville, which was a record in terms ofSince the establishment of the intergovernmental organization in 1975. “We know the situation is difficult but it is for this reason that we must be ambitious, because this is what Europe needs”.

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