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Lithuania now associate member of European Space Agency

Baltic EU country agrees second-closest form of cooperation, granting access to most joint agency R&D

Lithuania has become an associate member of the European Space Agency and can now participate in, and help shape, most parts of the agency’s joint R&D programming with the approval of full members.

Lithuania’s Esa membership began on 21 May after its innovation minister, Aušrinė Armonaitė, signed an association deal on 28 April in Vilnius.

The Baltic EU state joins Latvia and Slovenia as associate members of Esa. The agency said Lithuania had, over the past decade, proved itself as a partner under a weaker cooperation agreement.

Lithuanian companies and institutions can now take part in Esa’s ‘optional’ joint programming, the category of work that covers 80 per cent of countries’ contributions to the intergovernmental body.

The agency announced on 21 May that it is extending the deadline for its astronaut recruitment programme by three weeks to allow Lithuanians who “dream of flying to space” to apply.