Unlike other space nations, Europe cannot send astronauts into space itself. Now things should start moving. Apparently distant experts are also in demand.
Toulouse – The discussion about Europe’s independent access to space has taken a step forward. An advisory group of experts is to deal with future manned space exploration for Europe, as decided at the space summit in Toulouse on Wednesday.
“This decision will shape what Europe will look like in the coming decade,” said Josef Aschbacher, head of the European Space Agency ESA. The advisory group is due to report on progress in November, and more far-reaching findings could come in the spring. The group should consist of experts from a wide variety of fields – including artists and philosophers.
The ESA boss had hoped for a political mandate. According to him, Europe cannot afford not to have autonomous access to space. What is meant is the possibility of bringing astronauts into the cosmos yourself. Although Europe has a spaceport in Kourou in French Guiana, there is no European spacecraft for manned flights.
Esa flies with Nasa
Esa astronauts are currently flying into the universe with the US space agency Nasa. According to Esa, apart from Europe, all major powers in space had their own access. With the increasing commercialization of the past few years, private providers are also making the way into the cosmos possible.
According to Aschbacher, Europe lagged behind. According to ESA, the ability to take astronauts into space aboard their own vehicles would secure Europe’s future in space.
The European Union ministers responsible for space and ESA also discussed the protection of infrastructure in space and the control of space debris. France’s Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, who chaired the ESA Council of Ministers and the informal meeting of EU ministers in Toulouse, said: “Space is neither a Wild West nor a dustbin.”
There have also been discussions about the autonomous positioning of Europe when it comes to Internet reception. The ministers also supported ESA projects, for example for the more targeted use of earth observation data to mitigate climate change. A new space summit is planned for 2023. dpa
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