Go back

Europe and India looking to ‘intensify’ space cooperation

Image: European Space Agency 

European space chief says “spirit” is there for more collaboration between agencies

Europe’s and India’s space agencies are exploring the potential for further cooperation, according to the head of the European agency.

European Space Agency director-general Josef Aschbacher (pictured) said the “spirit” is there for further collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation.

He was speaking at a press conference on 27 March after a meeting of Esa’s governing council. He and council chair Renato Krpoun gave an update on Esa’s vision for the European space sector by 2040, as well as on the status of ongoing projects.

After talks with ISRO director Sreedhara Somanath over the past few weeks, Aschbacher said Esa and ISRO are looking to “intensify” their cooperation.

He added that Esa member countries are going to India on a “fact-finding” mission, with the expectation that the partnership will be advanced by 2025.

A competitive space

During the press conference, Esa officials emphasised the importance of “competitiveness” amid increasing pressure in the space environment, which will be the central topic of the organisation’s Space Summit on 23 May.

Toni Tolker-Nielsen, Esa’s acting director of space transportation, said that a European “launcher challenge” is intended to introduce more competition within the sector. “We have more than 12 startups working on launchers at advanced stages, with some launching this year,” he said.

Winners of the challenge will receive payments during and after the development of the launcher, with up to €150 million on offer.

Aschbacher also said Esa is still undergoing a transformation that started in January last year. This involves nine individual initiatives, including a ‘time to launch’ scheme to prevent project delays.