Without a clear plan, Europe would be lagging behind in another race for space. However, Joseph Ashbacher, the new head of the European Space Agency, warns member states. Ashbacher demands that Europe’s reaction be clarified at the next meeting of the Council of Ministers next year. “Europe must recognize that if we do not invest, we will withdraw from the race,” Ashbacher told Baltico. According to Ashbacher, the United States and China are investing heavily in space programs. The location there was identified as a “strategic element”.
Europe “does not make headlines”
Austrian Joseph Ashbacher has been ESA boss and heir apparent to John Warner since early March. Previously, as director of Earth observation, he was responsible for the successful Copernicus project. When he took office, he criticized Europe’s space programs for not diligently creating headlines like the US by the successful company SpaceX or Mars Rover. Since then, China has also succeeded in landing a rover on Mars on its first attempt.
Without concerted efforts, the continent would lag behind in the use of space on the Internet and artificial intelligence, Politico now quotes him. So Europe needs to build reusable rockets, plan safe satellite networks for communications and explore missions to the moon and Mars.
With these statements, Ashbacher again refers to the next meeting of the ESA States Council of Ministers to be held in 2022. He had already called it the “Space Summit” in which heads of state and government should show what Europe wants to achieve. The event usually takes place every three years, setting priorities and, among other things, approving funding for upcoming space projects. The ESA currently has 22 member states, all of which belong to the European Union, except Great Britain, Norway and Switzerland. Related members are Canada, Latvia, Slovenia and for a few weeks Lithuania.