The European Space Agency

Der Spiegel, November 2012

Edited by Andy Ross

The European Space Agency has agreed to continue development of the Ariane rocket, to stay involved in the International Space Station, and to cooperate with NASA on the construction of the Orion capsule to transport people and goods to and from the ISS.

Germany wanted to upgrade the existing Ariane 5 but France wanted to work on the new Ariane 6. Both got what they wanted: Ariane 5 development will continue and the Ariane 6 project will move forward.

Britain agreed to increase its ESA funding. Britain will now provide some €300 million a year to ESA, still far below the German total contribution of €2.7 billion over the last four years.

NASA had earlier backed out of a joint mission with ESA to Mars that has already cost €400 million. Now ESA will join forces with Russia.


AR This all sounds sensible enough in engineering terms.