The ministers responsible for space affairs in the countries that make up
the European Space Agency – its fifteen member states and Canada – today
concluded a two-day meeting in Edinburgh of the Agencyís ruling Council by
endorsing the next stages in a series of ongoing programmes and committing
to new initiatives that will help keep Europe at the forefront of space
science and technology, Earth monitoring from space, telecommunications,
satellite navigation, launchers, human spaceflight and planetary

In particular ESA and its member states made significant progress on
shaping a range of future- oriented programmes, with major decisions aimed
at enhancing Europeís role in the space sector.

The Agency signalled its strong commitment to closer cooperation with the
European Union. A first Resolution highlighting the importance of a
balanced, ambitious space programme serving Europeís citizens was adopted

The members agreed on a Declaration embodying financial commitments for
the development of Galileo, Europeís satellite navigation system. ESA now
looks forward with confidence to EU transport ministersí approval of their
contribution to Galileo at their December meeting. Galileo is a major
component of Europeís transport policy and will be deployed in partnership
with the business sector. It will offer a wide range of independent
navigation services for commercial
and private users and promises to generate new commercial services in
areas such as road vehicle navigation and air traffic control.

Further collaboration with the European Union will focus on the Global
Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) programme, which will
address such issues as global change, natural and man-made hazards,
environmental trends and monitoring of treaty commitments. Earth
observation is today an essential resource for surveillance of the
environment and the management of natural resources. GMES and a number of
other Earth observation projects were approved as the first elements in a
series of applications missions under the Agencyís Earth Watch

The delegations also decided to back a programme that will see the Ariane
launcher, which for many years now has held more than half the world
market for commercial launches, evolve in terms of power and versatility.
ESA is confident that Ariane will remain the worldís number one choice for
carrying commercial satellites into orbit. The European strategy for
independent and affordable access to space is based on the provision of
competitive European launch systems. The ministers stressed that to make
that strategy work the right balance has to be struck between the
respective roles, responsibilities and financial commitments of the public
and private sectors. Restructuring of the launcher sector in Europe would
be another key factor.

Concerning the ongoing discussions in the USA on the future configuration
of the International space station (ISS), the European ministers sent a
clear message to the ISS partners confirming that ESA will fulfil all of
its obligations, and by the same token expects NASA to keep to the
international treaty. ESAís main focus of interest is an intensive
scientific research programme calling for specific onboard resources, one
being the presence of full-size crews. One of the Resolutions passed by
the Ministers, concerning ISS utilisation, provides the financial
resources required by ESA but makes release of the final 60% conditional
on NASAís confirmation of the original agreement.

The Science Programme is the backbone of ESAís activities – its highly
successful missions have made Europe a world leader in space science. The
outcome of the meeting ensures that science at ESA will remain a European
flag carrier, contributing to our knowledge-based society.

Telecommunications satellites provide services that enhance many aspects
of our lives, and Europe already provides more than a quarter of the
worldís commercial platforms. The ongoing ARTES programme will lead to
new services and offers the prospect of continuing commercial success in
a rapidly evolving market.

ESA and the European Commission : towards closer ties
Europe now needs to exploit the strategic potential of space systems more
effectively to further its scientific, economic, social and political
objectives. The ministers acknowledged this in Edinburgh by renewing and
expanding ESAís mandate to establish closer ties with the European Union.

The process of wedding the public policy objectives of the European Union
and the capabilities of the European Space Agency got underway some years
ago. ESA is increasingly committed to closer cooperation with the European
Union to further its aim of putting space at the service of European
citizens and also to focus attention on space at the highest political
level in Europe. Pursuing these goals ESA and the EU are now engaged in
the development and implementation of a truly European space policy. The
foundations of that policy were laid in November last year, when the ESA
and EU Councils endorsed a joint document on a European Strategy for

As Europe grows, ESA is bound to grow too: the recent accession of
Portugal, the interest expressed by Greece in becoming a member state, and
the intensifying cooperation with Central and Eastern European countries
all testify to the continuing vitality of the Agency and its programmes.

And cooperation extends beyond Europe, with last yearís renewal of
Canadaís long-standing Cooperation Agreement with ESA and an expansion in
joint work on facilities and programmes with the United States. Japan and
ESA are working together closely in Earth observation and science. The
existing cooperation arrangements with Russia will be further developed in
areas of benefit to Europe. Ventures involving emerging spacefaring
nations – notably in the Asia-Pacific region and in Latin America – are
also on the ESA agenda.

Outstanding space programmes are only possible with a strong technology
base, the key to the competitiveness of European industry in world
markets. The ministers sought therefore to underline the importance of
deriving maximum benefit from technology, with measures to encourage
technology transfer and spin-off.

The ministers expressed appreciation for ESAís efforts in coordinating
communication and education programmes and in encouraging young people to
widen their career horizons. They urged the Agency to make European
citizens more aware of the knowledge and benefits they can derive from
European-led space research.

Note for Editors :

For further background information, see ESA Information Note N* 10 of 7
November 2001 on ESAís web site : htpp:// or call

ESA Communication Department

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