Space Gifts for Europe

Kliper funding went down but the rest of the budget flew.

This week, in their first conference in four years, held Dec. 5-6 in Berlin, the Euro ministers responsible for space, while not wearing Santa suits,
gave ESA nearly everything it wished for, including a Mars rover. (That's ExoMars, not Beagle 3.)

The ESA member nations
approved an $9.6 billion budget for 2006-08 that includes 700 million euro (($824 million) for ISS along with a generous 253 million euro ($298 million) for the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) satellite system.

But they denied a requested 51 million euros to fund ESA work on Russia's
Kliper (or is it Clipper?) space plane programme, a craft intended to replace Soyuz (or, as Space.com and others say, serve as Russia's alternative to NASA's CEV).

The members also passed a resolution for member states to use European launch vehicles. (Alas, no mention was made of any
U.S. launch crisis. Link via Rand Simberg)

audio of ESA's press conference. And New Scientist (Maggie McKee) has this overview of the ministers' meeting.

Of course, another meeting is planned for 2008.

Happy holidays.

* * *

And speaking of space budgets, over at NASA Watch, Keith Cowing looks at
NASA's FY 2007 budget submission to OMB.

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