European Space Agency seeks funding boost from member states

AP Science

BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency is asking its 22 member states for more money to be able to carry out ambitious new missions and keep up with growing competition from the private sector.

ESA, which began a two-day ministerial meeting Wednesday in Seville, Spain, is looking to increase its three-year budget by about 10%. In 2019, it had a budget of 5.72 billion euros ($6.3 billion) — about a third that of NASA.

The agency’s director-general, Jan Woerner, has touted an ambitious program for the coming years comprising Earth observation missions, scientific research, planetary defense and commercial enterprises.

Woerner said he also wants Europe to join other nations, such as the United States, that are planning to send astronauts to the Moon again.

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