European ministers increase space funding by 17% for ESA budget


was agreed at the ESA Council in Paris, and ESA provided €16.8 billion in funding (up from €14.4 billion in 2019), with the UK committing £1.84 billion.

ESA said it is working to ensure that “major space services are safe, and the Earth's orbital space is managed responsibly."

Missions and programs that will benefit from the funding include the Cosmic Vision, Voyage 2050, Juice, and Euclid science programs. Ministers also agreed to allocate €2.7 billion to ESA's Earth observation programme.

For example, Juice will explore Jupiter and its icy, ocean-bearing moons to explore where life might have formed elsewhere in the Solar System, and Euclid will map much of the universe by observing billions of galaxies over ten billion years of cosmic time.

"In the face of economic challenges, it is important to invest wisely in industries that create jobs and prosperity in Europe," said Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director General. With these investments, we are building a Europe whose space plan reflects its political and future economic strength.”

"We are expanding space in Europe, ushering in a new era of ambition, determination, strength and pride. Climate and sustainability will remain ESA's highest priority, our science and research will inspire the next generation, and we will create a place where European space entrepreneurs can thrive.”

From a UK perspective, this landmark includes the UK's £315 million investment in Earth and climate observation programmes, an increase of 45%, ESA's commitment to the UK-built Rosalind Franklin rover, which is scheduled to launch to Mars in 2028 , Great Britain. contributing to space sustainability through satellite management, maintenance and exploration, the UK's leadership of the Vigil space weather mission, which will travel into deep space to investigate dangerous solar storms, and secured funding to further develop the TRUTHS mission to improve the accuracy of climate measurements.

"I am delighted to return from the meeting with such a strong package of commitments and to be able to support our outstanding Earth observation sector to protect it from the uncertainty caused by EU delays as we continue to seek association with Copernicus," UK Science, Research & Innovation Minister George Freeman.

“This new investment will support the continued growth of the UK's space and commercial satellite sector – creating new UK jobs from Cornwall to northern Scotland – and ensuring the UK's leadership in space. They will bring our scientists and engineers to the forefront of some of the world's most important missions and programs that drive transformative innovation.”

According to the UK Space Agency, £217 million. will go to research programs supporting robotic missions to Mars and contributing to the Artemis Moon program, including Argonaut (European Large Logistics Lander), the Gateway space station, and commercial lunar communications systems.

There will be £206 million for telecommunications programs based on the work of the European Space Applications and Telecommunications Center at Harwell to enable faster 5G and future 6G communications, develop new optical and quantum communications systems and support constellations of low-Earth satellites orbit

There will be £111 million to improve the safety and security of outer space, improve the prediction and build resilience to hazardous space weather, protect critical national infrastructure, address the growing problem of space debris and catalyze growth and further investment in high-potential areas, including in-orbit satellite maintenance and production

Finally, £71m will support new technologies to reduce reliance on non-European countries for critical electrical and electronic components, supporting emerging areas such as space-based solar energy and the creation of radioisotope heat and power systems derived from nuclear waste.

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