The ministers responsible for space policy in the European Space Agency (ESA) Member States met in Seville, Spain, on 27-28 November to decide on the priorities of the Agency’s strategy and programmes for the coming years.
“The space sector is undergoing a major transformation, and the decisions made at the ministerial meeting highlighted the resulting need for renewal,” says Petri Peltonen, Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, who led the Finnish delegation. The development of small satellites and private launching services, and the use of space data in everyday services enable new globally scalable business models. Finland’s digital excellence makes it one of the leaders in the current transformation.
As stated in our national strategy, Finland participates in the ESA’s voluntary programmes in areas where we possess special strengths. Finland’s annual contributions total EUR 16.2 million (previously about EUR 8.5 million). The selected programmes will promote themes important to Finland, such as climate change mitigation, the development of the Arctic region, the sustainable use of space, the development of satellite 5G, autonomous transport and cyber security. Finland will not participate in manned space flights or in launch vehicle development.
In addition, Finland participates directly in programmes that are mandatory under the ESA Convention. We have participated in several key science projects conducted as part of the Science Programme. Finland’s annual contribution to the mandatory programmes will increase from the current EUR 10.8 million to approximately EUR 12 million.
Consequently, Finland’s total annual funding in ESA will come to roughly EUR 28 million. The annual budget of ESA totals approximately EUR 5.8 billion.
According to ESA’s Industrial Policy, contributions are returned to the Member States in the form of contracts awarded to companies, research institutes and higher education institutions. In addition, the funding provides Finns opportunities to work in ESA and to benefit from the common research infrastructure and test environments.
“Through ESA membership, Finland gets to participate in cutting-edge international projects,” Under-Secretary of State Peltonen stresses.
One of the measures included in the national space strategy, which was updated in 2018, is making more active use of ESA programmes. The objective of the strategy is to make Finland the world’s most attractive and agile space business environment that benefits all companies operating here by 2025. The Finnish Space Committee steers the strategy implementation.
Headquartered in Paris, the European Space Agency (ESA) is an international organisation that promotes cooperation between its 22 member states in space research, science, technology and applications. Finland has been a member of ESA since 1995.