Significantly increasing budget, launch of two new carrier rocket, continuation of Mars program. These were also mentioned in the regular launch conference of the Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA) on 15 January 2020. Johann-Dietrich (Jan) Wörner also outlined the key challenges that the ESA is facing in 2020. The budget charts which were presented at the Ministerial Council at the end of November 2019 included three and five years. The charts presented at this year’s press conference instead shows revenue and projected spending for the 2020 budget.

The diagram below shows the ESA budget for 2020, broken down by source. The total budget this year is € 6.68 billion, an increase of almost 17% compared to € 5.72 billion last year. 70% of this year’s budget is made up of contributions from the Member States, 23% (around € 1.53 billion) from the European Union. The remainder comes from Eumetsat utilizing meteorological satellites and other unspecified sources. Slightly more than half of the total listed budget is paid by the four largest Member States (France € 1,311.7 million, Germany € 981.7 million, Italy € 665.8 million, United Kingdom € 464.3 million). An important detail is that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not affect the country’s ESA membership.

It is important to note that Hungary has more than doubled its financial participation in ESA programs compared to 2019. About half of the country’s € 11.7 million contribution comes from compulsory contributions, the rest cover the participation in voluntary programs.

The following is a chart detailing the main areas of use of the budget published by the ESA. The three biggest slices again this year are Earth observation, space transportation and navigation. This is followed by smaller programs, including Space Safety, which increased it’s share of the total budget from 0.5% last year to 1.2% this year.

The Director General also said in his speech that one of the important tasks of this year is the establishment of framework agreements, in accordance with the new Commission and the EU budget, which fixes the financing of joint programs and the sharing of costs.

Jan Wörner also addressed professional programs at the press conference. He highlighted the expected launch of the ExoMars 2020 probe in July-August, which will launch an another Russian-European Mars probe.

A short film about the upcoming events in 2020 has been shared too by ESA:

The full press conference is available here to watch:


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