Europe To Double Spending
The European Space Agency and European Union member states are proposing to double spending on space-related activities, from a current level of 6 billion euros (US$6.9 billion) to 12 billion euros (US$13.8 billion), according to ESA official Franco Bonacina. He could not provide a timetable as to when the funding would double. The two bodies June 24 ended consultations on the Green Paper on European Space Policy, issued in January as part of an effort to expand Europe’s activities in space.
“The paper can only have beneficial consequences for the commercial satellite industry in Europe,” said Bonacina. “Space is being raised to a higher level of interest. Many more funding sources should be available for the development of space activities,” he added.
The consultations produced a list of other space-related proposal, including:
- upgrading the space policy institutional framework, possibly by creating a Council of Space Ministers;
- using the same satellite systems for both civil and defence/security purposes (multiple-use systems);
- developing an institutional market that recognises space potential in addressing civil policy objectives such as communication and navigation;
- encouraging access to space through the European Guaranteed Access to Space (EGAS) programme;
- setting up a European Security and Defence Agency;
- improving career prospects, training and development for people working in space research and technology;
- developing space applications to underpin technological and scientific development and the security of citizens;
- developing a programme to achieve seamless broadband communications for everyone in Europe; and
- supporting the enlargement process and European integration through satellite technologies and shared policy objectives.
The European Union plans to published a white paper based on the green paper’s proposals in October. –Fred Donovan
(Contact: Franco Bonacina, ESA, 33-1-5369-7713)