ESA Unable To Secure Commitment to Station Extension
The European Space Agency (ESA) was unable to win its member governmentsâ€™ approval of NASAâ€™s proposed five-year extension of operations of the international space station because of an unrelated dispute over financial support for Europeâ€™s Arianespace commercial launch services consortium, ESA and European government officials said….
ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain had hoped to confirm to NASA by the end of 2010 that ESA will continue its space station partnership until at least 2020. A continuation means paying Europeâ€™s share of slightly more than 8 percent of the stationâ€™s common operating costs.
How to distribute that charge among ESA governments has been a subject of negotiations for several months. Germany, as the stationâ€™s biggest supporter at ESA, wanted the agency to secure backing for a full station program between 2010 and 2020, which German officials estimated would cost 3.8 billion euros.
In a Dec. 17 interview, [ESA Space Station Director Simonetta] di Pippo said there is virtually no doubt that ESA governments will agree to the five-year extension. â€œIn the resolution we adopted at the council meeting, our member states indicated that they would maintain their commitments under the IGA,â€ di Pippo said, referring to the Intergovernmental Agreement that binds the space station partners.
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