Space Transportation strategy

European Flags with EU Flag

It is more than 50 years since a group of European governments decided that Europe needed guaranteed and autonomous access to space, and that it made sense to combine their efforts to achieve this goal.

Thanks to their foresight, Europe has developed a range of launchers and its own base in French Guiana for European launches. To have access to space is the first enabling element in the utilisation of space and the many benefits this brings.

Space utilisation and exploration yields greater knowledge of our Solar System, enables better navigation and telecommunication systems, and provides the data to monitor our environment. All this is only possible because we have the launchers capable of placing satellites accurately into space.

Ariane is the tangible sign of what Europe can do when it is genuinely united

The benefits of space exploration have expanded in ways that could not have been envisaged even 30 years ago. Space applications will continue to grow, which is why guaranteed access to space now, and in the future, is so important.

The EU and ESA recognise the growing importance of space and signed a joint declaration on 26 October 2016 on their "Shared Vision and Goals for the Future of Europe in Space".

This demonstrates the importance both institutions attribute to close and integrated cooperation with the shared ambition that Europe remains a world-class actor in space and a partner of choice internationally.

One enduring goal is to ensure European autonomy in accessing and using space in a safe and secure environment, by consolidating and protecting its infrastructures.

Europe offers a range of launchers to meet institutional and commercial needs, and ensures that Europe’s Spaceport remains a byword for excellence and reliability.

ESA’s Director General is using the shared vision and goals to prepare his proposal to ESA Member States for the 2016 Council at Ministerial level on 1–2 December in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Building for the future

ESA is able to build on its years of experience to:

  • ensure availability and foster the competitiveness and reliability of Ariane, Vega and Soyuz from Europe’s Spaceport;
  • maintain the ground infrastructure needed for launches;
  • foster a European institutional market for Ariane and Vega;
  • ensure that Europe can respond to evolving market demands by developing Ariane 6 and Vega C and their ground infrastructures;
  • support European industry, technology and research capabilities by improving industrial competitiveness and promoting innovation;
  • create employment;
  • prepare a future for Europe to better serve institutional and commercial markets by focusing on innovative technologies, investigating future launcher evolutions, demonstrating technical capabilities and preparing routine access to and return from space.

Last update: 21 April 2017

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