Together, France and Germany contribute half of ESA’s budget. This has naturally resulted in their taking up leadership positions vis-à-vis the future of European space policy. Chancellor Merkel and President Macron laid the foundation in mid-June, commissioning experts to develop options for action under “New Space” conditions.
Now, the next essential questions are: First, how can Europe maintain its access to space and strengthen its position as an international player? Second, how can the management of European space policy be simplified and made more competitive? And third, which projects should be promoted?
In short: As “New Space” creates new, stark competition, Europe needs to adapt quickly. We cannot sit and wait for another “Sputnik-Shock”! In a world where international order and multilateralism are crumbling before our very eyes, in which protectionism and egoism are rampant, the question remains: What is Europe’s hard-earned autonomous access to space and use of space technology really worth?
This is, above all, a question for politicians. Industry can help answer it, as can science, the military and diplomacy. But time is running short.