European Space Agency’s Windfall Will Fast Track Science Missions Including First Quantum Satellite
(ScientificAmerican) The European Space Agency has secured a massive boost to its budget. At a pow-wow of European ministers in Seville, Spain, on 27–28 November, the agency’s member states pledged €12.5 billion (US$13.8 billion) for 2020–22, compared with the €8.6 billion approved at the last meeting in 2016.
Other projects that can now press ahead include the design of Europe’s first quantum satellite, SAGA — which will form part of a wider European quantum-communication network.
ESA director-general Jan Wörner said ministers have not yet provided a detailed breakdown of the upcoming budget. Wörner said that they had pledged a 10% hike for ESA’s basic-science projects — smaller than the overall increase, but still the biggest rise in 25 years. Science funding at the agency had stagnated and failed to keep pace with inflation. “After a long period, we got this increase, and I am very grateful,” said Wörner.