PARIS — European Space Agency (ESA) governments have approved a budget of 4.1 billion euros ($5.7 billion) for 2014, a 4.2 percent decline from 2013 mainly due to a sharp reduction in funding expected from the European Union’s executive commission.

The 20 ESA governments’ investment in the agency will remain flat this year from 2013 at 3.12 billion euros.

The European Commission, whose future relationship with ESA will be one of the main topics of a ministerial conference in December, contracts with the agency for the Copernicus Earth observation and Galileo positioning, navigation and timing satellite networks.

The commission’s contributions ebb and flow with the progress of the multibillion-euro Copernicus and Galileo efforts. Both programs are scheduled to launch satellites in 2014.

The commission is expected to contribute 683 million euros to ESA this year, down from 911 million euros in 2013.

Most European nations have their own, separate space programs that are run outside of ESA. But in most cases — France, Germany and Italy are exceptions — the ESA contributions account for the vast majority of space spending. 

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Peter B. de Selding was the Paris Bureau Chief for SpaceNews.