Recently, the new space programme has been launched, and it will cover the period up to 2027. The new programme will see the 27 member states of the bloc increase investment in the domain of satellite navigation, space situational awareness, secure communications, and Earth observation. The EU establishes a body named the EUSPA or EU Agency for the Space Programme. It will oversee everything that the EU does as a bloc in orbit.
A major advance in the new space programme is the nature of the relationship of the EU with the ESA or the European Space Agency. These two entities are completely separate and do not overlap. However, the EU uses ESA as the industrial procurement agent and as the technical adviser.
ESA and EU Make a Fresh Start for Space’s Future in Europe
After several months of negotiation, the EU and ESA finally signed a Financial Framework Partnership Agreement or FFPA and celebrated the launch of the EU space programme. On June 22 the signature became possible after an agreement between both groups. The agreement signed represents an investment of €9 billion by the EU in the period of 2021 to 2027. The FFPA agreement defines the roles as well as responsibilities of all partners, including ESA, the European Commission, the new EUSPA. It will ensure the ESA’s level of autonomy that is required to develop and implement several programmes efficiently.
Over the past two decades, ESA has developed Galileo, Copernicus, and the EGNOS satellite navigation systems. The FFPA will take the new programme to a whole new level and will strengthen the role of ESA as the European Earth observation architect by developing the Sentinels Expansion missions. Such missions will monitor climatic changes and will support EU policies like Green Deal. All this will place Europe at the International space stage center, reinforcing its important role in handling climate change, supporting disaster relief, and monitoring biodiversity.
Upon the new Programme launch, commissioner for the international market Thierry Breton emphasized Europe’s need to become more agile. He said that space is going through huge transformations and through rapid industrialization across the globe. Europe needs to maintain its leadership through progressing more in the space domain. He further added that they should adapt to the fast development and presume the new ones. They must have a disruptive and ambitious space agenda for the future to become more dynamic, risk-taking, and innovative.