Towards an ambitious ESA ministerial Council – Space19+

Industry believes that initiatives being currently under consideration at ESA are generally providing a sound bulk in substantial continuity with respect to the past, to which should be eventually added a set of challenging and large size initiatives, being each a sort of ESA flagship programme, namely:

  • In Science and Exploration: an overall 6b€ subscription package is recommended. Flagships should be in Science LISA and ATHENA missions, and in Exploration new Lunar and Mars initiatives, both fully autonomous and open to international cooperation;
  • In Applications: an overall 4.4b€ subscription package is recommended. It should encompass a demonstration mission of space-based flexible digital VHTS telecommunication services in an integrated multi-technology (including in particular optical) 5G perspective, and in Earth observation an increased budget addressing in particular: expansion of Copernicus at the service of EU policies and preparation of future meteorological programmes and Earth Explorers;
  • In Enabling and Support: an overall 3.7b€ subscription package is recommended, with a particular focus on digitalization of infrastructure and processes. As regards Access to Space, it should encompass an optimised combination of accompaniment and development programmes including in particular the transitions to Ariane 6 and Vega C, their evolution programmes and in particular a reusability demonstrator, developments for small launchers, re-entry vehicles including Space Rider, as well as a contractual framework based on European launchers for European institutional programmes, aggregating the corresponding needs of European institutional customers;
  • In Space Safety and Security: an overall 1.9b€ subscription package is recommended. It should encompass, in addition to situation awareness and cyber-resilience activities, a series of new safety activities, such as: In-Orbit-Servicing (IOS) demonstrations missions (in both LEO and GEO) and related technological developments aiming at creating a European worldwide-level leading capacity, a planetary defence demonstration mission, and a space weather mission. The package should also include space security and safety applications.

The overall set of proposals would demand at next ESA ministerial Council an increase of subscriptions from member States with respect to recent ones, leading to an annual ESA budget, not including EU contributions, growing from the current level of about 4.1b€ per annum towards a relatively stable level of not less than 5b€ per annum (5b€/a).

Download our full paper Towards an ambitious ESA ministerial Council 2019.