News & AnalysisEuropean Space Agency

Tough Financial Times Bring ESA Down to Earth

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Science  30 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6111, pp. 1135-1136
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6111.1135

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At an intense and often acrimonious ministerial council meeting, managers of the European Space Agency sought funding for their programs in many areas of space activity, while representatives of the 20 cash-strapped member governments tried to accommodate them, but with less money than ESA wanted. The agency asked governments for roughly €12 billion over the 5 years from 2013 to 2017. By the end of the 2-day meeting, it came away with €10.1 billion ($13.0 billion). As a result, Europe will be going to Mars, but not to the moon; it will collaborate with the United States to develop NASA's Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, but it will have to wait for a decision on a next-generation Ariane 6 launcher.