- European Space Agency budget more than doubling.
- The largest contributor is Germany with $3.6 billion.
- ESA is planning to send European astronauts to the moon for the first time ever.
The European Space Agency (ESA) announced a budget increase to $15.866 billion. The expansion of the budget was finalized on November 28. The ESA is an intergovernmental organization of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris. The national bodies who sit on ESA’s governing council are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
In comparison, this year’s ESA budget is $6.43 billion and the NASA budget in 2019 is $21.5 billion. The ESA budget will be doubling. The largest contributor is Germany with $3.6 billion. Interestingly, the UK will still remain part of the ESA despite Brexit.
The reason for the budget expansion is to reach the ESA’s strategic goals of putting the first space station in orbit around the moon, having European astronauts on the moon surface for the first time. The mission would be conducted in cooperation with NASA, which is looking for international partnerships to explore the moon.
The global US space economy is $345 billion according to the Federal Aviation Administration, a governmental body of the US with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding international waters.
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Nine national space budgets (considering Europe collectively) exceed $1 billion: the US, China, Europe (collectively), Russia, India, Japan, France, Germany, and Italy.
In 2015 and 2017 respectively, the US and Luxembourg enacted bills granting property rights on resources collected in outer space. The biggest beneficiaries would be the defense and technical companies investing in the exploration of space. NATO agreed to create their first ever space policy in June 2019.
The Future ESA missions:
- Spring 2020 MTG launch – Joint EUMETSAT-ESA meteorology mission to launch the third generation of Meteosat satellites. The Meteosat series of satellites are geostationary meteorological satellites operated by EUMETSAT under the Meteosat Transition Programme (MTP) and the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) program.
- Spring 2020 PROBA 3 launch – Microsatellite solar observation and formation flying demonstration mission, serving as the fourth flight in the Proba series. PROBA-3 is the third satellite mission in the European Space Agency’s series of PROBA low-cost satellites that are being used to validate new spacecraft technologies while also carrying scientific instruments.
July 2020 launch – Rosalind Franklin rover ESA component of the joint Roscosmos-ESA ExoMars 2020 Mars lander mission. Planned to be the first European Mars rover. A Mars rover is a motor vehicle that travels across the surface of the planet Mars upon arrival. Rosalind Franklin previously known as the ExoMars rover, is a planned robotic Mars rover.
- Spring 2021 James Webb Space Telescope launch-Joint NASA-ESA-CSA infrared space observatory mission for general astronomy and cosmology. The James Webb Space Telescope will be a successor to the Hubble Space Telescope, which will provide higher quality, resolution images and will allow more precise explorations in the field of astronomy.
- Spring 2021- MetOp-SG launch Joint EUMETSAT-ESA operational meteorology mission, launching the second generation of MetOp (Meteorological Operational Satellite – Second Generation) satellites– a series of six meteorological satellites.
- July 2021 Electra launch- Joint ESA-SES telecommunications mission, utilizing a spacecraft with electrical-powered propulsion. Electra is a satellite development project initiated by the European Space Agency (ESA) as the first partnership project under its ARTES-33 program. In conjunction with satellite operator SES and satellite builder OHB Systems, the Electra project seeks to develop, launch and validate in orbit an electric-only propulsion platform for geostationary communications satellites of below 3 tonnes launch mass.
The ESA is far from the leader in the space industry, but continues to evolve in this competitive industry.