ESA Faces the Limits of Expansion, Growing Power of EU

polish_flag_eu_flagBy Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

At the European Space Agency (ESA) ministerial meeting on Nov. 20-21 in Naples, there was a new flag flying outside. The red-and-white flag of Poland, which had joined space agency the day before, was raised among those of ESA’s other 19 member states.

Poland became the third — and wealthiest — former Eastern Bloc nation to join ESA behind the Czech Republic and Romania.  The nation’s ascendance brought the number of full ESA member states to 20 from the original 10 countries that created the space agency in 1975. Canada is an associate member.

Ten other European nations, nine of which have cooperative agreements with ESA, attended the quadrennial ministerial meeting as observers with hopes of eventually joining the space agency as full members. Behind them, there is another group of 10 countries — most of which are still emerging from the fall of communism two decades ago — that could one day join ESA.

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DLR Chairman Says “Nein” on EU Takeover of ESA

DLR Chairman Johann Dietrich Wörner

DLR Chairman Johann-Dietrich Wörner has dismissed the idea that European Space Agency (ESA) needs to be brought under the wing of the European Union (EU) in order to improve cooperation between the two organizations.

The European Commission, the EU’s top body, has recommended several options that would bring the independent space agency under the control of the union.

In the following excerpt from his blog, Wörner rejects the idea, saying that the coordination problems between ESA and the EU can be handled without making such major changes, and that the entire debate is a distraction from far more important issues.

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Growing EU Power Threatens ESA’s Independence


It’s a common enough occurrence in Hollywood : a writer completes a draft of a script and, after reading and digesting the brilliant scribe’s latest masterpiece, the producer/director/whatever ladles out immense praise. After spending the requisite amount of time building up the writer’s fragile ego so it ascends to the Olympian heights that is an Academy stage, the reviewer lays the hammer down.

“But, I do have a few notes….”

In other words, heed my pearls of wisdom and get started on the rewrite. You’ve got a lot of work to do.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has been getting very similar notes from its bigger, more powerful cousin, the European Union (EU). The union loves — just loves — ESA’s work, great stuff.  However, ESA needs to do better — and it might be able to do so by coming under the control of the EU.

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French President Becomes Latest Foreign Leader to Seek Deeper Space Ties With India

Sarkozy to address ISRO scientists
Sify.com

Indian space agency ISRO is gearing up to host French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni at its headquarters here Saturday and will interact with top scientists.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) officials, Sarkozy will be at ISRO office between 12.30 p.m. and 1.40 p.m. Saturday.

He will be arriving in India Dec 4 on a four-day visit, during which India and France are likely to further increase cooperation in civil nuclear energy.

India and France are jointly developing two satellites that are expected to be launched sometime next year. One of them is Megha Tropiques mission to study the water cycle in the tropical atmosphere and the other is SARAL (Satellites for Argos and Altika) to monitor the sea water level.

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Koreans, French Funded New Russian Angara Booster

angara
Russia's new Angara rocket

There’s an interesting sidelight to Wednesday’s upcoming launch of South Korea’s first rocket, KSLV-1 (Nano-1), that gives some valuable insights into how Russia conducts its space business.

The Russian-made lower-stage is actually the first stage of that nation’s new Angara family of rockets. The Korean government paid for the development, although the Russians are not sharing any of the technical details with them. (The Koreans have built the KSLV’s second stage using their own technologies.)

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