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Space programmes for a sovereign Europe: Germany pledges €4 billion at ESA Council at Ministerial level in Paris and assumes ESA chair
Germany is strengthening European space programmes and will continue to play a leading role in European space activities. This is the result of the European Space Agency (ESA) Council at Ministerial level held in Paris on 22 and 23 November. The Federal Government is contributing a total of €4 billion to ESA programmes. ESA calculates on the basis of mixed economic conditions, meaning that Germany’s contribution amounts to €3.5 billion. The priority areas for German involvement include satellite-based projects for improved climate change mitigation, more European sovereignty, and the strengthening of private-sector space activities with new business models (New Space).
“Be it the Ukraine war, the energy crisis or the climate crisis – space activities make important strategic contributions towards resolving these global challenges. That is why I am pleased that we have been able to provide €4 billion from Germany for European space activities in the coming years. For us, the focus is on climate action, competition, New Space and Europe’s sovereignty,” said Dr Anna Christmann,Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy. “One particular success for Germany is in achieving greater competition in the area of missile systems. As a result, private-sector providers of mini and micro launchers can in future participate in ESA calls for tender. This is a paradigm shift that will give New Space and private-sector activities new impetus.”
Aerospace Coordinator Dr Anna Christmann went on to say: “In addition, by making available €827 million (€669 million according to 2022 economic conditions), we have provided consistent support for Earth observation programmes that are eminently important for the global understanding of our Earth and for precise climate monitoring. In this way, we can tackle the consequences of the climate crisis more effectively and develop countermeasures, not least in the spirit of the European Green Deal. However, sustainable space flight also means that we must preserve space for future generations. This requires both technological solutions and the continuing development of the national and international legal frameworks.”
Prime among the measures with which the Federal Government is strengthening European sovereignty are independent access to space and the related support for the European Ariane launch vehicle. In addition, Germany will participate in the Secure Connectivity programme, because secure communication is vital, particularly at times of crisis.
Vice Chancellor and Federal Economic Affairs and Climate Action Minister Robert Habeck, who attended the Council at Ministerial level yesterday and officially took over the ESA chair from France, made his support for human space flight and the various lunar programmes clear, saying: “Germany will continue to play a leading role within ESA in space exploration and in human space flight. Thus we are ensuring the continued operation of the ISS and the development of a European robotic lunar lander. Furthermore, we will remain a reliable cooperation partner for NASA in the Artemis moon programme.” With German involvement in the planned European robotic moon lander Argonaut, Europe will for the first time be able to land freight and scientific experiments on the moon’s surface independently. Thus Europe can make a further important contribution to the US Artemis moon programme. Along with the supply of further propulsion components (the European Service Modules) for the US Orion crewed spacecraft, whose first mission has just arrived at the moon, Argonaut is the foundation for European astronauts to be able to fly to the moon’s surface in future.
On 22 and 23 November 2022, government representatives from 22 European Space Agency member states met in Paris (France), where they pledged a total of €16.9 billion for space programmes over the next few years. The Council at Ministerial level is ESA’s highest policy decision-making body and generally meets every three years to determine the substantive and financial framework for ESA’s space programmes.
The German delegation was headed by Federal Economic Affairs Minister Robert Habeck and the Federal Government Coordinator of German Aerospace Policy, Dr Anna Christmann, who were accompanied by representatives of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport (BMDV).
In Paris, Germany took over the chair of the ESA Council from France and will host the next meeting in Germany in 2025.
Further information is available on the website of the German Aerospace Center (DLR): www.dlr.de