The European space agency increases its budget to compete with private launchers – rts.ch

While the European Space Agency (ESA) is facing fierce competition, especially from American private launchers, its member countries, including Switzerland, have decided to increase its budget by 17% to reach 17 billion.

Space has never aroused so much desire. Thus, nearly 200 launches should take place this year, of which a large half thanks to SpaceX, the company of billionaire Elon Musk.

It is a major competitor for the European space agency, which however recognizes a certain technological delay.

“There are areas where we are not the best and where we need to improve, especially in launchers. We have the Ariane program, which is good but now with SpaceX, we are seeing that they take off much more often and more quickly, by having technologies that we do not yet have in Europe, so we must improveā€, noted in the 7:30 p.m. Josef Aschbacher, director general of the ESA.

The failure of the launch of Vega-C last December further dampened the atmosphere within the European agency.

>> Read: The first commercial flight of the European Vega-C rocket flopped

Budget of 17 billion in total

To continue racing in the big leagues, ESA member countries have therefore agreed to increase the budget allocated to the agency by 17% for the next three years, to reach 17 billion in total.

This sum is still far from the 24 billion allocated to NASA just for 2023.

Switzerland’s key role

The European Space Agency can count on Switzerland, founding member and 7th contributor to the agency:

“Switzerland has a lot to offer, which has one of the greatest technological capacities in the world, space technology on the one hand, but also data analysis, computing and quantum technologies, the use of data satellites, the conversion of this data into information for the public. Switzerland is truly a country at the cutting edge of technology and a very important partner for the European Space Agency”, added Josef Aschbacher.

Switzerland is truly a state-of-the-art country and a very important partner for the European Space Agency

Josef Aschbacher, Director General of ESA

As proof, the partnership signed with the Vaud-based start-up ClearSpace, active in the space cleaning market and which plans to launch the world’s first space debris collection mission in 2026.

>> Read: Europe orders first orbital cleanup mission

Or the Cheops satellite, the very first Swiss-designed satellite, placed in orbit at the end of 2019 and responsible for studying exoplanets.

>> Read: Launched successfully, CHEOPS is ready to observe exoplanets

So many successes that today make Switzerland a key player in the conquest of space.

Julien Von Roten/lan

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