ISU MSS 2024

Europe’s Lunar Ambition Receives Widespread Support

Europe’s lunar ambition. Credit: ESA

Ibadan, 5 June 2023. – Europe’s bold ambition in space exploration has received enthusiastic support from politicians, business leaders, and independent experts from across Europe at an ESA conference in Vienna. Delegates discussed the immense international, economic, and societal importance of space exploration for Europe – and how to establish the way forward.

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer said: “Space technologies are key technologies for our future. Space science and technology will continue to play an important role in the future. ESA fulfills much more than just a strategic policy task, and it is above all about innovation and technology leadership and thus ultimately also about Europe and Austria as a business location.”

Likewise, ESA Director General Josef Aschbacher said: “Space offers immense opportunities for Europe. Europe is already a leader in Earth observation, climate monitoring, navigation, and space science. In addition, human and robotic exploration has recently seen rapid growth in most space-faring nations.

Aschbacher also added, “Europe cannot afford to be left behind. Three countries already send astronauts into space: the US, Russia, and China, and soon to India. To retain its technological leadership, leverage geopolitical opportunities, seize upcoming economic opportunities, and attract the best talent, Europe must act now to develop its own sovereign access to space, not only for higher autonomy but also to be a stronger partner for international cooperation.”

Accordingly, having the ability to send European astronauts to low Earth orbit or to the Moon in a European spacecraft, carrying on board astronauts from other continents, will empower Europe to trade on an equal footing with other major space powers. The ESA is now working to realize this vision and will present its plans to its Council during a high-level space summit in Seville in November.

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