Ministers support Europe’s sustainable and competitive space ambitions

Ministers support Europe’s sustainable and competitive space ambitions

Europe will harness space for a greener future, take decisive steps in exploration, and ensure independent access to space as it prepares for a paradigm shift towards a more competitive next generation of launchers, following decisions taken today at the ESA Space Summit in Seville.

Government Ministers representing ESA Member States, Associated States and Cooperating States have jointly decided to advance Europe’s space ambitions to better serve European citizens.

At the same time, ESA is modernizing how it manages its programmes, accelerating its procurement and increasing its role as a key customer for commercial suppliers, while promoting the development of cutting-edge technologies and programmes.

Joseph Aschbacher, Director General of the European Space Agency, said: “Space today is much more than space science and robotic and human exploration. Space has become strategic for the prosperity of any nation. Space policy is climate policy, industrial policy and security policy. It is a crucial tool for meeting global challenges.” “Space has become a topic on the global negotiating table. Europe must actively participate in this conversation.”

“Today, ESA Member States reaffirmed their commitment to a strong ESA,” said Anna Christmann, Federal Government Coordinator for German Aerospace Policy, who chaired today’s ESA Council meeting at ministerial level. From taking the first steps towards innovative and competitive approaches that will revolutionize how Europe secures its future access to space as well as its role in exploration. A strong agency will also help to better use space to deal with climate change, benefiting everyone on Earth. I look forward to We hope to continue on this promising path when Member States meet at a ministerial-level ESA Council meeting in Germany in 2025.

Accelerate space utilization

Earth observation data from space have been crucial in determining climate change. ESA will now help Europe move from monitoring to management – ​​harnessing the use of space to pursue climate action, and supporting national and European efforts to become carbon neutral by 2050.

By working with international partners – many of them from outside the space industry – ESA will accelerate the use of space for a green future. It will build on several existing ESA activities, including: the Green Transition Information Factory, which uses Earth observation data, cloud computing and cutting-edge analytics to help policymakers and industries transition to carbon neutrality; the satellite-based iris environmentally friendly flight system; And efforts to use space-based data to enable greener agriculture, energy and transport were recently named to ESA’s “Green File”.

The ESA has agreed to work in partnership with the EU Directorate-General for Climate Action, which leads the European Commission’s efforts to combat climate change at EU and international levels.

At the same time, ESA will actively reduce the environmental footprint of all space projects throughout their entire life cycles and promote a clean and sustainable space industry.

Climate change is fueling hurricanes and floods that threaten human life and prosperity in Europe, as do natural disasters such as forest fires and earthquakes. At the same time, increasing numbers of satellites are well positioned to help respond to such emergencies.

ESA will accelerate the use of space to respond to these emergencies through the Rapid and Flexible Crisis Response Accelerator. The Ministers expressed their support for ESA to engage with international partners – again, many of them outside the space industry – to provide a comprehensive gap analysis to Member States.

Today’s world is more dependent than ever on space-based technologies. The Space Asset Protection Accelerator aims to keep space technologies safe from risks such as space debris and space weather. At the Space Summit, ministers called on public organizations and commercial space companies to register their intention to sign the Zero Debris Charter in the next few months.

Confirming Europe’s rightful place in the world

The world stands at a pivotal point in space exploration. Over the past few years, the landscape has changed radically. It will develop even more rapidly in the coming years: a new economy develops in low Earth orbit that will transform space exploration in the years following the retirement of the International Space Station; From launches to exploration, private companies are revolutionizing the landscape.

At the Space Summit, ministers launched a competition between innovative companies based in Europe to deliver a space cargo return service that will see a European commercial provider deliver supplies to the International Space Station by 2028 and return cargo to Earth. The service vehicle could evolve into a crew vehicle and eventually serve other destinations, if Member States so desire.

Public funding has already been secured for the early stages of the project, with private contributions sought through competition. The second phase will form part of the proposals submitted to the next meeting of the ESA Council at ministerial level in 2025. By taking a decision at today’s Space Summit, ESA can immediately start working to achieve the ambitious 2028 target.

The Ariane 6 and Vega-C launchers will soon ensure Europe’s access to space, but the model for the launcher market has changed radically. Europe must maintain the technical and industrial capacity necessary to reach space without interruption.

Ministers launched a new competitive European space transport ambition to enable Europe to regain its commercial standing, reduce the need for public funding and retain its position in the world by making ESA a key customer and enabler of commercial space activities and services.

Next steps

ESA will work in partnership with the European Union to coordinate European demand for space services, demonstrating ESA’s role as the agency at the heart of Europe’s space ambitions.

Today’s decisions were adopted by a decision informed by a proposal by the Director General of ESA to raise Europe’s ambitions for a green and sustainable future, access to space and space exploration.

It represents another important step towards the Council meeting at ministerial level scheduled for 2025. The ESA Director General will propose an “ESA 2040” strategy to be prepared together with ESA Member States, which will be ready in early 2024 to serve as the basis for a meeting. 2025.

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(tags for translation)Seville

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