ESA toasts 10% budget boost by stretching ISS support out to 2030

Message for Mr Peake: The station called and wants its former resident Brit back

ESA bigwigs were cock-a-hoop today as the agency's Ministerial Council passed a bonzer budget, with the UK, Germany, Italy and France splashing the most cash.

The 10 per cent rise was, according to ESA, the first significant boost in funding in 25 years.

Total subscriptions (PDF) from the states stood at €14.4bn, with Germany spanking €3.3bn, France €2.7bn, Italy €2.3bn and the UK €1.7bn, making the UK's contribution to the European space shenanigans an impressive 11.5 per cent of the total budget, but only a hair over half of what the Germans pump in.

Unlike NASA, which operates on a year-to-year basis (albeit with a much bigger budget), ESA's budget gives the agency five years, which makes planning a tad easier.

An exhausted-sounding representative of the UK Space Agency (there are 22 governments to corral in order to get agreement after all) confirmed to The Register that the UK would not be spanking those Euros all in one go. Instead, the amount would be spread out among the projects being undertaken by ESA (including those previously agreed that the UK has yet to pay for), hitting around £374m per year.

That cash will ensure the UK keeps its fingers in various pies, including the Lunar Gateway, retrieving samples from Mars, satellite broadband and dealing with space junk. And, of course, getting Tim Peake back to the International Space Station (ISS) before 2024, when NASA is scheduled to start pulling US support from the outpost. ESA had already promised that all astronauts from the 2009 class would get a second flight, and today's announcement is a reconfirmation of that.

ESA also stated that it intends to continue supporting the ISS until 2030 as well as contributing transportation and habitation modules to the Lunar Gateway.

Your move, NASA.

The budget also gives the green light to ESA's reusable spacecraft, the Space Rider, as well as ensuring a "smooth transition" to the new roster of launchers: Ariane 6 and Vega-C.

Some within ESA had expressed a little disquiet about the latter in conversation with El Reg recently, wishing that perhaps the agency could have been a little braver and pushed ahead with more exotic tech while leaving traditional rocketry with the commercial launch providers.

Slightly worryingly for Blighty, the agency trumpeted: "The coming years will also see ESA reinforce its relationship with the European Union."

Britain, infamously, could well be doing quite the opposite come 2020. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading
  • Utility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack

    All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

    A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

    The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

    "We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021