The 22 Member States endorsed the most ambitious plan in the history of ESA, accounting for 14.4 billion euro over five years. The Portuguese contribution has also increased significantly from 73 million euro subscribed in 2016 to 102 million for the next years.
In a time in which Space is no longer seen as a way for countries to show off their technological prowess and sovereignty, but rather as an added value to society and a competitive advantage for industries and economy, ESA’s Council at Ministerial Level, Space19+, came to an end this Thursday, with the approval of the most ambitious plan to date for the future of the European Space Agency and the whole European space sector.
The ESA 22 Member States decided to contribute 14.4 billion euro. This volume is for the next five years to account for the Mandatory Activities which include the Scientific Programme and the Basic Activities. The budget for the next three years is approximately 12.5 billion euro, which stands for an increase of around 1.8 billion compared with the funds given by the member states in 2016.
The Portuguese contribution has also increased significantly from 73 million euro subscribed in 2016 to 102 million subscribed at Space19+. This contribution paves the way for implementing of the Portuguese Space Strategy 2030. Focus areas are Earth Observation, Space Safety, Telecommunications, Space Science and Space Transportation. The contribution will contribute to reinforce the access of Portuguese research institutions and industry to early technology development and space science activities while at the same time, to ensure the commitment to lead the democratisation of space access and space data.
To Chiara Manfletti, President of Portugal Space, “the exciting work head following Space19+ starts now! In the frame of ESA Portugal will, in addition to engaging in Earth Observation (EO), help usher in a new era of sustainable use of Space with a unique mission for Active Debris Removal and In-Orbit Servicing – ADRIOS”. On this matter, ESA’s member states took significant steps with the adoption of Space Safety and Security as a new fundamental pillar of the Agency activities.
The two-day conference, held in Seville, brought together Ministers with responsibility for space activities in Europe, along with Canada and Slovenia and observers from the EU and partner institutions like EMSA and ESO. With their decisions Member States decided to maintain and strengthen a broad set of programmes to secure Europe’s independent access to and use of Space in the next decade, boost Europe’s growing space economy, and make breakthrough discoveries about Earth, our Solar System and the Universe beyond, all the while making the responsible choice to strengthen the efforts we are making to secure and protect our Planet.
“Today at Space19+ in Seville, together with my colleague’s Ministers from ESA Member States, we secured a further step to foster Europe’s competitive position in the global space arena. We approved an ambitious portfolio of space programmes and addressed the challenges linked to the sector”, said the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Manuel Heitor, received the co-presidency of ESA along with French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal. The Portuguese minister also urged “all ESA Member States to seriously engage in continuously taking stock of space activities and strengthen the role of ESA in Europe in close articulation with EC”.
The Portuguese co-presidency also wants that the Member States “take the necessary steps towards modernizing ESA’s industrial policy and guarantee the agency evolves in a way to match a constantly changing environment, changing markets and a fast rate of the digital transformation of our societies.”
Furthermore, co-chair of the meeting, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal said: “Space19+ has demonstrated the value of Space as critical infrastructure and enabler for our daily lives. In subscribing to the programmes, Member States have made a great step towards inspiring society and renewing our ambition to address those challenges. The high level of subscriptions decided at the Sevilla ministerial conference will strengthen the European excellence in Space and will also commit us towards European citizens.”