HomeTop StoriesThe European Space Agency welcomes the British deal with the EU on...

The European Space Agency welcomes the British deal with the EU on satellites

By Tim Hepher

PARIS (Reuters) – The European Space Agency on Friday welcomed an agreement under which Britain would resume full membership of Europe’s Copernicus programme, clearing doubts over the next wave of climate tracking satellites and the completion of development work by European space companies.

Britain said on Thursday it would rejoin both Copernicus and the European Union’s Horizon science research programme, ending a two-year standoff over post-Brexit funding.

Copernicus is a set of six families of Sentinel satellites designed to read the planet’s ‘vital signs’, including carbon dioxide.

Plans for a further six ‘Sentinel Expansion’ missions from 2026 have been shelved due to a €721 million funding gap, mainly resulting from Britain’s departure from the EU.

In an interview with Reuters last month, the head of the European Space Agency – which runs the world’s largest Earth observation project with the EU – warned that work would have to be suspended if there was no funding deal by June next year.

See also  Suspect in armed robbery at San Jose poker game falls through ceiling in foiled escape attempt

But after Thursday’s agreement, Director General Josef Aschbacher said the deal would allow British scientists and industry to take full advantage of one of Europe’s leading space programs.

“Britain’s full participation in the program is an important boost for the climate change agenda, which depends every day on space-based observations of our planet,” Aschbacher told Reuters by email.

The deal is a boost for satellite manufacturers including Europe’s Airbus, France’s Thales and Germany’s OHB, which had been awarded contracts to build the new range of satellites, partly subject to an EU financing deal.

But while the political agreement signals a further improvement in bilateral ties between Britain and the EU, sources said details of the financing were being finalized.

Neither Britain nor the European Commission provided a financial analysis of Copernicus, or said whether the €721 million funding gap had been fully closed.

Britain’s direct but smaller contribution to Copernicus through ESA, which is not part of the EU, remained unaffected.

See also  A proposal from the council for fair wages

Before the deal, Aschbacher was one of the highest-ranking climate monitoring officials to express concern about wavering support for measures to combat climate change.

Leaving a hole in the Copernicus budget would have sent the wrong signal about Europe’s commitment to combating climate change, he told Reuters last month.

The agreement came on Thursday when ArianeGroup, owned by Airbus and Safran, said it had successfully conducted a hot-firing test on the main stage of the delayed Ariane 6 space launcher.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by David Evans)

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments