astrium csts1.JPG

credit: EADS Astrium / caption: this ESA/Russian Federal Space Agency funded design seems very distant now

Hyperbola has come into possesion of the figures for the European Space Agency’s transportation and human exploration budget for the next three years

A couple of related figures were kindly provided last week by ESA human spaceflight and microgravity directorate coordinator Piero Messina but Hyperbola has managed to obtain more sums including the spend for the European robotic cargo lunar lander

Messina informed Flight that for International Space Station (ISS) the budget was

  • ISS Exploitaton P3: time-frame 2008-2012, subscription: 1373,6 MEuro
  • ISS ELIPS P3: time-frame 2008-2012, subscription: 298  MEuro

These figures related to astronaut time aboard ISS and the research conducted and ESA’s hardware and services provision to meets its obligations under the barter arrangement agreed between the partners for station

Meanwhile the figures that Hyperbola has obtained, relating to European manned spacecraft research, evolution of the Automated Transfer Vehicle into the Advanced Re-entry Vehicle (ARV) and the lunar cargo lander are the following

  1. ARV phase A €21 million
  2. Lunar cargo lander €11 million (ESA had originally asked for €20 million)
  3. Human exploration scenario studies €6 million
  4. Russian co-operation €4.9 million

So after all the publicity surrounding the ESA-Federal Space Agency joint venture that was called Crew Space Transportation System it seems that it has been still born

Major obstacles seem to have been a Russian insistence on CSTS being lanched on a new Russian rocket, which had not been designed in detail, from a yet-to-be-built spaceport in Asia and almost zero western European involvement in the crew capsule bar the avionics – Russia’s electronics are years behind the west’s

The one mystery surrounding the ESA ministerial meeting I have yet to fathom is the complete lack of any reference to the global exploration strategy

I can only assume that everyone is waiting to see what president-elect Barack Obama does. If he supports the return to the Moon, even if it is delayed to say 2030, and if the Ares I crew launch vehicle gets cancelled and Ares V cargo launch vehicle becomes man-rated, or not?