Fourteen of the European Space Agencyâ€™s (ESA)18 member nations have agreed to raise their contributions for 2011 despite public debt concerns that have reached near-crisis levels in some of them, ESA officials said.
As a result, the agency has been given an overall 7 percent budget increase, to 2.975 billion euros ($4 billion). The additional money could provide a financial cushion in the event unplanned bills arrive ahead of its member governmentsâ€™ scheduled payments, officials said.
â€œThe fact that these nations have agreed to a fairly substantial increase in their contributions at this time is an indication of their belief that spending on research, and specifically on space technology, is an investment in the future,â€ said Gerhard Kreiner, ESAâ€™s head of corporate controlling.
In a Jan. 18 interview, Kreiner said that, in keeping with ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordainâ€™s commitment not to overstress the liquidity positions of its member governments, this money will not necessarily all be spent in 2011.
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