European Space Agency and European Union fix their relations

Authorities with the European Space Agency and European Union have said they are committed to establishing a more friendly partnership with space projects after the fraying of ties in the recent years. Thierry Breton, who works as the Commissioner for European Union’s Internal Market, expanded the olive branch to the ESA at the 13th European Space Conference on January 12, noting that the organization was crucial to meeting its space aims. European space strategy will keep relying on the ESA as well as its unique expertise in technology, engineering, and science,” he stated. “ESA will remain the European Agency for the Space Affairs. If we are to succeed in our European Space Strategy and we are to succeed, I will require ESA to be on my side.”

Breton appreciated Jan Wörner, the exiting ESA Director General, for his management of the organization since the year 2015 and expected strong ties with Josef Aschbacher, Wörner’s successor. “I also hope to work closely with Josef Aschbacher in a culture of goodwill and optimism for Europe.” Two days later, at an ESA press conference, Aschbacher replied. “I found the declarations he built for ESA very motivating,” he added, responding to Breton’s expression. “ESA is an important space collaborator in Europe, and I hope to make ESA to be the main agency, the European Commission’s go-to authority for all of its key initiatives.”

For its two latest flagship space projects, the Copernicus sequence of Earth observation satellites as well as the Galileo satellite navigation system, ESA is now affiliated with the European Union, with technical supervision provided by ESA and, in the situation of Copernicus, some of the financing. The EU, however, has demonstrated an interest in spreading into new territories, a development that some in the European space community view as threatening the turf of the ESA. A current move by European Commission to rename the European Global Navigation Satellite Systems Agency, identified as the GSA as well as liable for the Galileo program, as European Union Space Program Agency (EUSPA) with a broader mandate to manage the EU’s space program is one example.

The name indicated that the EU sought to establish a possible ESA competitor. “My role is to try and make everything work much more effectively,” Breton stated during a briefing following his speech today when questioned about the reason behind developing EUSPA. “We need to reconsider our governance even as we shift from creation to exploitation.” A European Union official, speaking in the past, admitted that the agency’s current name was raising ESA worries. “There were those outside who believed this was a move aimed at somehow limiting the function of ESA, and that is not what exactly we want as well as what we feel,” stated the official.

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