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ESA boss: “Europe must be bold”

January 26, 2024

Josef Aschbacher, director general of the European Space Agency (ESA), speaking at the European Space Conference held in Brussels, has urged European space-related industries to be bolder. He wants to set up a ‘Strategy 2040’ programme, and has agreement from the EU.

“Europe has to be bold, or else we will always remain a 2nd or 3rd tier player in the global space domain. Despite the larger funding of other countries like that of the US, we still have some of the best internationally-recognised programmes: Galileo, Copernicus, space science. Europe has what it takes to dominate the field when it gets its act together, pooling its resources, brains, ambitions and efforts,” he stated.

He told delegates that ESA – with the EU Commission and with its Member States – must enhance and reinforce our cooperation across Europe and move as one, formidable player and powerful partner.

“I have repeatedly communicated to the space sector in Europe that without setting our ambitions high and strong, we will not be able to maintain our standing, nor will we successfully build on our achievements. Reinforcing competitiveness in the frame of increased global competition is essential for Europe’s space industry,” he continued.

“With this context in mind, I have proposed to develop a Strategy 2040 for ESA together with our Member States. They have unanimously agreed to develop this strategy during the Space Summit in Seville late last year. The strategy shall give clarity on how Europe, through ESA, must position itself in view of a 15-year horizon and to provide a stable framework for the preparation of the next ESA Ministerial meetings,” he added.

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