The meeting of ministers that occurs ever three years to decide the European Space Agency (ESA) budget has been completed.  The Seville “Space 19+” meeting has awarded a budget of €12.45 billion to ESA for three years with an additional circa €2 billion to cover programmes lasting five years,  with each nation fronting up their share to cover this. The amount was more or less what was asked for and ESA Director General Jan Woerner was said to be happy and relieved. Of course, each nation has its own national space priorities and so some fund some projects more than others.  Some programmes were oversubscribed compared to their request, while others lost out.

The Space 19+ meeting in Seville agreed ESA budget in November 2019. Courtesy: ESA

The big winners were: Earth observation – including the EU Copernicus programme – received €2.54 billion which was more than that requested.  Likewise, space exploration receives €1.95 billion of which some €300 million is being used to develop modules – the ESPRIT refueling and telecommunicatoins module and a joint habitation module with JAXA –  for the Lunar Gateway element of the US Artemis human return to the Moon programme. Most ESA nations want to see their astronauts on the Moon.

Space Transportation receives €2.24 billion for upgrades to the Ariane 6 and Vega rocket families, and an Italian led programme involving a reusable spacecraft called Space Rider.

However there were some losers. Telecommunications was awarded a budget of €1.51 billion which was about a quarter of a billion euros less than requested. Another programme which struggled to gain support was the space safety programme covering planetary defence from asteroids and solar weather. It received only €432 million – about a third less than requested.