The new leader of the European Space Agency has laid out his goals for the coming years, including strengthening cooperation with the European Union and expanding commercialization efforts. The ESA Agenda 2025 paper, published on April 7, outlines how the organization’s current director-general, Josef Aschbacher, plans to use the agency to ensure Europe’s continued leadership in space.
During a conference call with journalists to review the 17-page paper, he said, “Europe, in my view, requires to have a substantial debate about where Europe wants to go in the next 10 to 15 years” in space. This involves the economic and tactical role of space, as well as “bringing fresh life, new excitement, and new creativity by new space programs.”
During the next four years or the length of Aschbacher’s first tenure as the agency leader, the agenda has five goals. Strengthening relations with the EU, expanding commercialization efforts, designing space protection and security systems, addressing “sensitive program issues” with current programs, and enhancing ESA’s internal processes are among them.
Improving ties with European Union, which have been fraught in recent years as European Union increases its space aspirations, is at the top of the agenda. The EU and ESA collaborate on the Galileo satellite navigation network and the Copernicus set of Earth observation satellites. However, the EU has expressed interest in new initiatives such as a broadband satellite system and establishing a European Union Space Program Agency to manage its operations.
Aschbacher, earlier this year, stated his wish for ESA to be the EU’s “go-to institution” for space operations, said that completing a Financial Framework Partnership Agreement (FFPA), which have been delayed for a long between the two organizations controlling their space collaboration is an urgent priority. “We’ve restarted the talks with new vigor,” he added, pointing to a joint letter which was signed by Aschbacher as well as Thierry Breton, the European Union’s commissioner who is in charge of the internal market, signaling their aim to reach a compromise on the FFPA.
He refused to go into detail on the problems that prevented the two parties from forming an agreement. He said, “So far, we’ve made positive strides.” “Both parties have a deep desire to step on quickly. By the middle of the year, we expect to get an arrangement in place and get it accepted by all parties.”
A proposal for a “Space Summit” meeting in the spring of the year 2022, which would put together European countries for a high-level session, perhaps at the head-of-state stage, to address Europe’s aspirations for space, is part of the initiative to strengthen ESA-EU ties outlined in the agenda. The meeting may be used to launch a modern European flagship space initiative to join Copernicus and Galileo, such as the EU’s planned broadband constellation or even alternatives, like a new space traffic control initiative, according to the paper. The event will take place independently of the ESA’s next ministerial conference, which is planned for late 2022.https://minernews.io/