by Douglas Messier
The European Commission (EC) has slashed its space budget for 2021-27 from a proposed €16 billion ($18.8 billion) to €13.2 billion ($15.1 billion) due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and the exit of Britain from the European Union (EU).
Under terms worked out last week by EU leaders, the space budget will devote €8 billion ($9.4 billion) on the Galileo satellite navigation system and €4.8 billion ($5.65 billion) to the Copernicus constellation of environmental satellites.
Other programs to be funded with the remaining €400 million include:
- space situational awareness, which is focused on preventing collisions of satellites in Earth orbit and protecting against asteroids, comets and the effects of space weather; and
- Governmental Satellite Communication (GOVSATCOM), which is focused on providing EU member nations with secure satellite communications.
The EC had originally sought €9.7 billion ($11.4 billion) for Galileo, €5.8 billion ($6.8 billion) for Copernicus, and €500 million ($588 million) for space situational awareness and GOVSATCOM.
The space funding is part of a €1.8 trillion ($2.1 trillion) budget that includes €1.07 trillion ($1.26 trillion) to fund EU operations and €750 million ($881.9 million) to help member nations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another factor affecting the space budget was the departure from the EU of Great Britain, which has a large economy and has been investing heavily in the space sector.
The €13.2 billion ($15.1 billion) is an increase over the €11 billion euros ($12.9 billion) previously budgeted for 2014 through 2020.
The budget must be approved by the European Parliament.