Ariane 5 rocket (picture from December 2021)
Photo: Bill Ingalls/UPI Photo/IMAGO
The European space agency Esa will receive a significantly increased three-year budget of 16.9 billion euros.
That was decided by the 22 member countries at the ESA Council of Ministers meeting in Paris.
Compared to the previous budget, this is an increase of 17 percent, but still less than the increase to around 18 billion euros aimed for by Esa.
However, all planned space projects could be implemented without cuts, said ESA boss Josef Aschbacher.
Germany contributes around 3.3 billion euros to the budget of the space agency, France around 3.2 billion.
"Europe can fulfill its space ambitions so that it can keep up with China and the USA," said France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire at the end of the ESA conference.
The budget allows ESA to operate independently and sovereignly in space without having to delegate tasks to China or the United States.
New class of astronauts
ESA also presented the ESA astronauts born in 2022 - an almost equal selection.
Esa shares pictures of the astronauts on Twitter.
For the first time, a person with a disability is among those selected, John McFall from Great Britain.
Presenting the new generation, McFall said he hopes to inspire others and show that space is potentially for everyone.
Two astronauts from Germany also made it into the selection: Amelie Schönenwald and Nicola Winter.
At the start of the meeting, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) emphasized the importance of space travel - on the one hand for security, but also for climate protection and sustainability.
For example, data from space could be used to protect the environment.
Germany will continue to strengthen ESA and continue to participate heavily in ESA projects, the Ministry of Economic Affairs announced.
"In particular, we stand by our commitments to our exploration partners."
That includes the ISS space station.
At the Paris meeting, Germany takes over the leadership of the ESA Council for the next period from France.