The signing ceremony took place at the Palace of Arts in Budapest with the participation of Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA Director General. For Hungary, the Agreement was signed by Ákos Kara, Minister of State for Infocommunication and Consumer Protection, Ministry of National Development, and in the presence of Fruzsina Tari, Head of the Hungarian Space Office, also from the Ministry of National Development.
Other government officials, ambassadors and representatives of several embassies of the ESA Member States and several representatives from Hungarian space sector attended the ceremony, including Előd Both, Chairman of United Nations Scientific and Technical Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the Hungarian Aerospace Technology Platform, the Hungarian Space Cluster, the Hungarian Association for Geoinformation and the Hungarian Astronautical Society.
Hungary has a long history of cooperation with ESA; it was the first central European state to sign a Cooperation Agreement with ESA in 1991. The country also became the first European Cooperating State (ECS), signing the ECS Agreement on 7 April 2003 in Budapest.
Hungary has an extended tradition in space activities and actively participated in the Interkosmos programme, sending into space the first Hungarian cosmonaut, Bertalan Farkas, on 26 May 1980. The country’s contribution to the Plan for European Cooperating States covers fields such as space science, Earth observation, life and material sciences and space technology.
Hungary has also taken part in several ESA educational activities, including ESA radar courses, student parabolic flight campaigns and the European Student Moon Orbiter project, for example. Hungary’s first satellite, MaSat-1, a cubesat-type satellite, developed and built by students at the Technical University of Budapest, was launched on the Vega rocket maiden flight in 2012.
Following the conclusion of the ratification process by the Hungarian Government and once the ratification instrument is deposited with the Government of France, Hungary will become officially the 22nd ESA Member State.