Failure isn’t always a deterrent for funding and the best example of this was provided at a recently concluded two-day Council meeting of European Space Agency (ESA) member nations at ministerial level where €10.3 billion funding was approved for the space agency for ExoMars, other missions.
Failure of Schiaparelli lander could have proved to be a major setback for ESA, but it turns out that ESA member plus Slovenia and Canada do not believe in that. ESA has been instrumental in the global endeavour for deep space missions and has the technology and the manpower to back its vision of future space missions and what it needs in return is money. Having demonstrated its capabilities over the years and specifically its missions in the last few years, ESA has created a strong foundation on which it will build its vision of a United Space in Europe in the era of Space 4.0.
The proof to what ESA is capable of doing and can do in future has been demonstrated once again through the billions of Euros of funding it has managed to garner. ESA’s Member States consider space as a strategic and attractive investment with a particularly high socio-economic value and that’s what the latest funding accentuates.
Schiaparelli’s failure ignited speculations of possible repercussions in terms of decline in funding, but with allocation of €10.3 billion, there is a strong signal that ESA member states still believe in the space ageny’s capabilities to conceptualize, shape and organize the change in the European space sector and in ESA itself.
As far as individual components in the funding go: €2.5 billion was allocated to maximise the integration of space into European society and economy; €1.4 billion was allocated to foster a globally competitive European space sector; €1.8 billion was allocated to ensure European autonomy in accessing and using space in a safe and secure environment; and €4.6 billion was allocated for developing a firm foundation in excellence in space science and technology.
Further, the summit also saw the Ministers in charge of space matters declaring their support for ESA’s Director General’s vision for Europe in space and the role and development of ESA. This will enable ESA to commit itself to inform, innovate, interact and inspire in the Space 4.0i era. The funding and the support will enable ESA to build on commercialization, participation, digitalization, jobs and growth, the concept of “United Space in Europe” will soon become a reality, the space agency revealed in a press note.