Cash-Strapped Nations Boost ESA Contributions

ESA Budget Rises to $4B as 14 Nations Boost Contributions
Space News

Fourteen of the European Space Agency’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 governments’ scheduled payments, officials said.

“The 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,” said Gerhard Kreiner, ESA’s head of corporate controlling.

In a Jan. 18 interview, Kreiner said that, in keeping with ESA Director-General Jean-Jacques Dordain’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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