The European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC) has declared its approval for new space programmes in the EU, worth a total €14.4bn.
The committee, which acts as a platform for independent space scientists to advise European bodies on space research and policy, congratulated the European Space Agency (ESA) on recent successes and welcomed the ESA’s strategy for future Space 4.0 initiatives. The programmes were announced at the ESA’s Council Meeting, held in Seville, Spain last week; and represent the highest amount of funding ever secured for space sciences in the EU.
Athena Coustenis, Chair of the European Space Sciences Committee, said: “Positions taken by ESA Member States will reinvigorate and motivate European space scientists. Space research is now back on the Member States’ priority agenda and the community is committed to new exciting endeavours to better understand our planet, our solar system and our universe. The ESSC has led a dedicated study regarding the space weather aspects and emphasises that this effort is urgent and of global relevance in order to define an operational space- and ground-based network that measures essential space weather parameters. This will in turn drive the space weather predictions required to protect our society’s infrastructure.”
The European Space Sciences Committee says it will ‘follow closely and with great interest the implementation of the programmes’ in receipt of funding announced at the council meeting, which include:
- The Mandatory Science Programme, which will receive an increased budget of €2.83bn to support the ESA’s Cosmic Vision space research and exploration campaign and the long term Voyage 2050 strategy;
- The European Exploration Envelope Programme, with a budget of €1.95bn, which will shore up European participation in the International Space Station; and
- Earth observation programmes, which will receive a total budget of €2.54bn.
European Science Foundation Chief Executive Nicolas Walter said: “With these important decisions, European space sciences will contribute even more to a better integration of the European Research Area. ESA is reinforcing its position as a catalyst for its national communities as well as a leader, key actor and trustworthy partner at the international level.”