Who finances the European Space Agency

European dimension

European Space Agency (ESA) and European Union (EU)

The cooperation between ESA, the EU and their member states has been regulated since 2004 by an ESA-EU framework agreement with the aim of gradually developing a comprehensive European space policy. The resolutions of the Space Council established by the framework agreement create the basis for carrying out joint space activities. Since 2009, the Lisbon Treaty has given the EU a legal basis to operate in the space sector. The main criterion for the division of labor between the institutions in space policy must remain the preservation of the efficiency of European space travel as a whole. It is important to avoid duplicate structures and to keep the coordination and administrative effort within limits. In doing so, tried and tested structures that have made European space travel a technologically efficient and highly recognized player on an international scale must be preserved and strengthened as far as possible.

Within the framework of ESA, which coordinates European space activities, the countries of Europe have been working together extremely successfully for over 35 years. The ESA member states continue to finance well over 90% of institutional space in Europe. The ESA is firmly established in Europe as the institution for European space cooperation. She has extensive experience and adequate tools to carry out complex and demanding space projects. Your financing system leads to an appropriate distribution of burdens and benefits in European space projects.

ESA has also acquired a great deal of trust in international cooperation. An independent and strong ESA will continue to be indispensable for the success of European space travel. The Federal Government will therefore continue to work to strengthen the ESA as an intergovernmental institution.

At the center of the EU's space ambitions are the two EU flagship programs Galileo and Copernicus. With the successful launch of the first Copernicus Sentinel 1A satellite in April 2014, the Copernicus Earth observation program began its work. The radar system of the new earth observation satellite is one of the most powerful systems ever deployed on a civil satellite. With its radar sensor developed and built in Germany, Sentinel-1A can observe land and water surfaces day and night regardless of the weather. A multispectral Sentinel 2A and a Sentinel 3A with a sea surface temperature meter and a radar altimeter will be launched in 2015, and Sentinel 1B will follow in 2016 as a twin to Sentinel 1A. Together, the satellites support applications in agricultural management, the monitoring of land and sea surfaces, the marine environment and shipping traffic, as well as the so-called ice service in northern European and polar waters.

When it comes to the application and use of space travel, the EU carries out tasks that complement the existing activities of ESA, the member states and specialized user organizations such as EUMETSAT (European Organization for the Use of Meteorological Satellites).

Space travel is now firmly anchored in the research framework programs. These offer a useful addition to research activities that are not covered nationally or in ESA programs. In the new framework program for research and innovation "Horizon 2020", which runs from 2014 to 2020, the subject of space is aligned with the priorities of the European space strategy and the needs of the European operational programs. Germany plays an active role in shaping the EU's tasks in space-related issues.