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Ministers meet to define the role of space in delivering global objectives


SA PR 44-2008. Ministers in charge of space activities within the now 18 ESA Member States and Canada will meet in The Hague (the Netherlands) on 25 and 26 November to implement the European Space Policy, setting out the start of future programmes and taking decisions on the next phases of on-going programmes.

This Council meeting at ministerial level will take place in an unprecedentedly favourable environment for the European space sector:

* 29 Ministers of the ESA and European Union Member States, gathering in the Space Council meetings (*), have given full support to the European Space Policy (ESP) -adopted in 2007- and established clear strategic objectives for space, identifying priority areas that include in particular the contribution of space to: monitoring and mitigating global change, security, the Lisbon strategy (aimed at making the EU the most competitive economy in the world) and space exploration.

* ESA is confirmed as a leading global player and a reliable partner in international cooperation: with the successful missions of the Columbus laboratory to the International Space station (ISS) and the “Jules Verne”/ATV cargo carrier, it has become a fully-fledged partner on the ISS; moreover it has driven forward the scientific frontier in space and also re-established Ariane as the leader of the world-wide commercial launch market.

* National programmes, in particular in Space Science and Earth Observation, are increasingly planned in such a way as to complement ESA and maximise benefits to Europe as a whole;

* The EU, together with ESA and the Member States, has become a key player in strengthening Europe as a space power, creating and co-funding space-based public services such as the global positioning satellite system Galileo and piloting the global monitoring for environment and security GMES programme to meet the needs of European citizens.

(*)The Space Council is the joint and concomitant meeting of the EU Council and of the ESA Council at ministerial level. Its first meeting dates back to 2004. In May 2007, the Ministers of the Space Council, representing 29 European countries, adopted the new European Space Policy, unifying the approach of ESA with those of the individual European Union member states

Europe’s excellence in space, its increased recognition worldwide and the recent successes are all the result of decisions and investments made by European Ministers years and even decades ago. The Council at Ministerial level in The Hague will give Ministers responsible for space activities an opportunity to construct the future today, with renewed commitment and vision.

Objectives for the Council at ministerial level in 2008

In expressing their support for the European Space Policy ESA’s Ministers, together with their EU peers, have established the political agenda for space in Europe. The ESA Council at ministerial level in The Hague will translate the policy into concrete programmes. Ministers will establish priorities within those programmes which are instrumental in ensuring the contribution of the space sector to the future of Europe and will allocate resources accordingly.

Clear programmatic priorities, consistent with the strategic objectives on the one hand, and with the longer-term vision on the other, will assist Europe to:

* further develop the benefits of space to society and the knowledge economy, stimulating innovation, creativity and growth;
* promote the development of new products and services benefiting daily life;
* be increasingly successful on the global market in space systems, services and applications;
* meet its defence and security needs for space; and
* provide continued access to space.

Programmatic activities to match the objectives

1. Space Applications serving Europe’s public policies, enterprises and citizens

The GMES (Global Monitoring for Environment and Security) Space Component Programme provides the initial space capacity needed to deliver effective global monitoring of the environment. Segment 2 of the GMES Space Component Programme will span the period 2009-2018, overlapping with the on-going segment 1 (2006-2013). It will mostly complete the development of the initial series of dedicated satellites (the Sentinels), and will keep on providing reliable and efficient operational access to Earth observation data from other contributing missions needed by the user community.

Segment 1 and 2 are co-funded by ESA and the EU and serve the needs of operational services, including Emergency Response, Land Monitoring, Marine and Atmospheric Composition. Segment 2 covers the in-orbit validation phase (beyond completion and launch) for Sentinels 1A, 2A and 3A and initial phases of Sentinel 5. Segment 2 also includes the development of activities of Sentinel-1B, -2B and -3B units up to flight readiness, the development of two Sentinel 4 instrument units (to be carried on Meteosat Third Generation, see below) and a Sentinel 5 precursor satellite.

In the field of meteorology, the objective is to develop the technologies and systems which will allow EUMETSAT to continue and enhance the European meteorological service, and particularly to address the next generation of European geostationary satellite systems. Meteosat Third Generation (MTG) will enhance the accuracy of forecasts by providing additional measurement capability, higher resolution and more timely provision of data. The programme will follow the precedent set by Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) development, i.e. an ESA development programme for the initial two prototype satellites with a fixed contribution by EUMETSAT. ESA will then procure an additional four recurrent satellites on behalf of EUMETSAT. The development programme will last from 2009 until 2020.

With the objective of sustaining and improving the competences of industry and ESA in navigation technologies for the future evolution of the European global navigation satellite system (GNSS) infrastructure (i.e. EGNOS and Galileo), the European GNSS Evolution Programme (EGEP) is proposed for extension. The proposal, covering the 2009-2011 timeframe, includes (1) system definition, preliminary design and support studies, (2) R&D in GNSS related technology, (3) GNSS evolution test-bed and system tools and (4) accompaniment activities. The aim of the extension of the programme is to prepare the first evolution of EGNOS by means of pilot systems to demonstrate potential for new services as well as to continue the improvement of Galileo related technology in view of future upgrades to the system.

Space Situational Awareness (SSA) initiative

2. Meeting Europe’s security needs

The Space Council has highlighted the essential need to develop increased synergies with the security and defence sector and to intensify the dialogue with the relevant institutional actors (the European Commission, the General Secretariat of the Council, the European Defence Agency, ESA and Member States) and plan appropriate programmatic activities.

The objective of the Space Situational Awareness (SSA) initiative is to contribute to the protection of European space systems, in particular those related to operational services, against space debris and solar flares (space weather). This will help guarantee the availability of such services by providing timely and quality information on the space environment, threats and the sustainable exploitation of outer space surrounding Earth.

The programme proposal will consist of one core element covering governance, data policy, data security, architecture and space surveillance, and three additional optional elements: space weather (monitoring and forecasting effects of radiation, ionospheric perturbation, geomagnetic disturbances and currents induced in large pipeline networks, for instance) and Near Earth Objects surveillance; bread-boarding of radar components in close coordination with the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP, see page 5); pilot data centres.

3. Competitive and innovative industries

The primary objective across the range of ESA Telecommunications Programmes is to support the technological competitiveness of European industry as well as to undertake demonstration projects leading to operational systems in partnership with users, operators and service providers. This is done through the ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) Programme.

The extension of the ARTES Programme will continue the support to the European space industry through research and development of innovative satellite communications technology, systems and applications to enable industry to meet customer needs, including those of the public sector. ARTES 1 constitutes the preparatory element of the Telecommunications programme. ARTES 3-4 and ARTES 5 are designed to allow the generic development of technology, equipment and systems for industry’s target markets and to allow updates and improvements to existing products. The ARTES 8 extension programme proposes to extend the capability of the large platform Alphabus and to support exploitation of the performances of the Alphasat satellite by developing the required user segment and upgrading the service segment. Finally the ARTES 11 extension programme is aimed at consolidating the Small GEO satellite platform, increasing its competitiveness by means of innovative technologies and enabling the full commercial exploitation of the innovative payloads on board the Small GEO satellite though development of both the ground and user segment.

The European Data Relay Satellite (EDRS) programme (ARTES 7) aims at initiating, in partnership with a service provider/operator, operational capabilities in geostationary orbit to provide data relay and related services to efficiently support ESA and, possibly, third party missions. The EDRS will replace ESA’s Artemis data relay satellite which has been operated successfully since 2003, and will reach end-of-life during the first half of the next decade. The programme will be implemented in a stepped approach, with the first step being primarily focused on services to GMES and on the possibility of serving additional commercial, institutional and security needs.

Iris Phase 2.1 (ARTES 10) will achieve the development of a modern communication system enabling safety-of-life Air Traffic Management (ATM) communications via satellite. This programme is configured as the ESA technical contribution to the overall development of a new European ATM system, the European Commission’s SESAR programme. Particular attention will be devoted to enabling low cost and low complexity user terminals and antennas to be used by all aircraft flying under Instrumental Flight Rules. The communication standard to be developed will allow seamless operation worldwide. The Iris programme will also define the satellite infrastructure to be implemented for European airspace. Building upon Iris Phase 1 (2007-2008), the programme will include the development of the new satellite communication standard, the user terminals, the ground segment, the space segment, end-to-end satellite system integration, its testing in pre-operational conditions and system validation. The interface with the overall European ATM system will be defined, including safety analysis involving the future operating entity. The pre-operational capability of the service is being targeted for 2015.

The programme proposal for the November Ministerial Council includes the necessary provisions to perform the industrial Phase B and the associated safety and business case analysis. A “checkpoint” is planned for 2011, before the go ahead and funding of the development and validation phases.

The Integrated Applications Promotion (IAP) Programme (ARTES element 20, Phase 1 in ESA’s jargon) will foster the use of integrated space systems and technologies (telecommunications, Earth observation, meteorology…) alone or in combination with a variety of terrestrial systems, in a wide range of operational services for society and public policies (natural disaster monitoring and mitigation, search and rescue). The programme is based on two elements: Basic activities - to raise the level of awareness of the potential users, identify potential new services and prepare new projects for demonstration- and demonstration activities -projects that will lead to pre-operational services. Service providers, industry and user institutions will be involved from the outset with a view to their taking over the service when the activity is mature enough to lead to sustainable operational services.

Outside the Telecommunication area, the fifth period of the General Support Technology Programme (GSTP 5) will start in 2009. It aims at accommodating the objectives of the programme proposal formerly known as NewPro. It will consist of: Element 1 – classical GSTP activities; Element 2 – development of building blocks and components to high technology readiness level; Element 3 – for Security technologies; and Element 4 – in-orbit demonstrations. Building blocks will be made available to users in a catalogue of products. This is to be part of the product policy in the newly proposed procurement policy of the Agency, aimed at reducing risks to projects and promoting reuse. It will also strengthen European non-dependence while aiming at breakthrough innovation and promoting technology spin-in.

4. Contributing to the knowledge-based society

The Cosmic Vision (2015-2025) plan is ESA’s mandatory Scientific Programme’s long-term plan which has as its underlying vision the search to understand the formation and functioning of the Universe since the Big Bang and responding to questions on the conditions for life and planetary formation. The scientific community looks to the ESA Scientific Programme for leadership. Particularly, ESA provides opportunities to fly the larger, more technologically challenging missions that are not within the capabilities of single Member States. The Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan will provide such opportunities.

Delivering the Cosmic Vision plan as early as possible is extremely important to the European scientific community, as well as to European industry. However, bringing forward the plan can only happen if appropriate funding levels are granted in the next Level of Resources (2009-2013) to the Scientific Programme (the LoR- covering science and basic mandatory activities- is described in section 5.3) thus ensuring challenging technological work for European industry and providing the European scientific community with a continuing world-class programme.

An assessment of the financial capacity of the Member States shows that an increase in the Level of Resources (LoR) dedicated to the Scientific Programme of 3.5% per year is possible as a compromise between requirements of the programme and funding capabilities of the Member States,. The first objective must be to complete the approved missions which are currently under development and in operation, including the BepiColombo mission to planet Mercury, in the most cost-effective manner. The next goal is to implement the future missions -to be decided by the Science Programme Committee (SPC) from a list which will include Solar Orbiter- as close to the initial calendar as possible, with the first new science mission launch by 2017 and with launches at approximately eighteen month intervals thereafter.

In Exploration, the objectives are to make full use of the ISS for preparing exploration and providing astronaut flight opportunities; to start the definition of a new transportation system derived from the ATV and providing cargo return capabilities, with a decision on a full development to be taken at the next Council meeting at ministerial level earmarked for 2011 at the latest; to start studies and technologies for the exploration of the Moon and to promote exploration, in tandem with the recruitment of new astronauts. A major objective is to become a leading participant in the robotic exploration of planet Mars, starting with the Enhanced ExoMars mission and working towards a significant European role in a Mars Sample Return mission.

The Enhanced ExoMars mission - which has evolved significantly from the original scenario proposed in December 2005- is due for launch in early 2016 using a heavy lift launcher (an Ariane 5 from Kourou or a Russian Proton-M from Baikonur) and arriving 10 months after launch. The mission- the first of ESA’s Aurora programme- includes development of several main components: the spacecraft composite consisting of a Carrier Module and a large Descent Module; the Pasteur and Humboldt payloads; the Entry Descent and Landing system; a Mobile Rover including a drill capable of drilling down to 2m in depth and sample acquisition capability.

Discussions are under way for Russia and NASA to be major partners in this mission: partnership with the USA could include provision of various functional elements, such as the Pasteur Urey exobiology instrument and contributions to other Pasteur and Humboldt instruments. Partnership with Russia would see a linkage to their Phobos-Grunt mission to Mars’ moon Phobos, with elements such as procurement and handling of radio-isotope heating units; scientific cooperation on instrumentation; communications’ cross-support for Phobos-Grunt; and the potential use of the Proton-M as launcher. All this still subject to final confirmation at the completion of the on-going investigations with the partners. In addition, certain simplifications of the mission will be required to get within the subscription envelope.

The future Mars Robotic Exploration Preparation programme (also included in the European Space Exploration Programme-Aurora) is a preparatory programme for the development of European capabilities to enable the long-term exploration of Mars. It includes the definition of an exploration strategy and roadmaps, and Mars Sample Return (MSR) preparatory studies with a view to a cooperative endeavour that could take place between 2020 and 2030 with NASA and possibly other partners. The programme also covers intermediate missions before MSR (such as rendezvous and capture in orbit, aero-braking, sample collection, high mobility rovers and hard landing demonstrations), exploration technology developments as well as awareness and education activities.

Following the periods 1 and 2 programmes which prepared the European scientific and industrial community in Life and Physical Sciences in Space by carrying-out preparatory experiments on non-ISS platforms, the European Programme for Life and Physical Sciences (ELIPS)-Period 3 proposes extensive and optimised use of the Columbus laboratory and of the European resources and capabilities available on the ISS, complemented by a unique suite of autonomous mission platforms for performing gravity- or radiation-related research. The programme will provide focused fundamental research in Life and Physical Sciences in Space; applied research (addressing for example diagnostics and novel treatments for age-related diseases), industry-driven R&D and technology demonstrations in aerospace, energy, automotive and biotechnology; enabling research for Human Exploration (crew health and exobiology research), as well as education and outreach.

Climate change is probably the greatest challenge facing humankind this century. ESA and its Member States are strongly committed to developing space initiatives that can help minimize and mitigate the effects of climate change. The ESA Climate Change Initiative aims to provide consistent long-term global records of the ‘Essential Climate Variables’ that are required by the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) to support the work of the International Panel on Climate Change and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This programme will focus on those climate variables (such as greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean salinity and temperature, sea and lake levels, sea-ice and snow extent, fire disturbance) for which ESA satellite data sets (30 years of archives, ERS, ENVISAT and future Earth Explorer and Sentinel missions) will make a major contribution to complement that of international partner space agencies.

The Climate Change Initiative will build on Europe’s substantial expertise in processing, generating, and exploiting global data sets. It will guarantee the availability of this space-based information for the future, in a form readily usable by scientific communities and government bodies. By enabling earth observation and climate scientists in Europe to focus their collective efforts on this critical issue during the 2009-2015 timeframe, this new initiative will pave the way for future operational support to climate policies from the GMES system.

The long-term preservation of data from Earth Observation missions, operated and acquired by ESA, is of paramount importance for the monitoring of long-term global trends with regard to many environmental parameters. A comprehensive approach to the achievement of this objective will be proposed at the next ESA Council at ministerial level, planned for 2011.

Until then, and in preparation, a provisional solution is proposed for the next three years, including the archiving of the data and the evolution of data processing and data access systems in cooperation with national space agencies and other data owners.

5. Securing access to technologies, systems and capabilities for independence and cooperation

5.1 Access to space

All the objectives of the European Space Policy can be achieved only if access to space is ensured and an effective presence in space requires that Europe is able to control, maintain and operate its own launch capability, at minimum cost to governments, in an autonomous way. Commercial exploitation of launchers contributes to achieving these objectives. However, as a result, European access to space is dependent on a sustainable economic situation in the European launchers sector.

ESA’s Launcher Programmes are aimed at maintaining guaranteed access to space for Europe at an affordable cost through the exploitation of the full family of launchers - Ariane, Vega and Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre - as from 2010. The programmes also cater for the continuous consolidation of this family of launchers through their operating life and the preparation for their evolution in the medium term, also aimed at decreasing the level of dependence on non-European sources. ESA’s launcher programmes also embed provisions for the sustained funding and availability of the Guiana Space Centre launch range in order to maintain its quality of operations and services, as well as those for the continued preparation of the Next Generation Launcher to become operational once the current family of launchers and their evolutions will have reached their operational limits (~2025).

Starting from 2010, Ariane, Soyuz and Vega launchers will be operated from the Guiana Space Centre - Europe’s spaceport - under a legal framework that foresees a new agreement between ESA and the French government (French Guiana is a French overseas department). Under this agreement France guarantees the availability of the launch range for ESA programmes and activities as well as for the exploitation phases of Ariane, Vega and Soyuz. The proposal for the Agency contribution to the funding of the Guiana Space Centre and associated services beyond 2008 covers the costs related to the services to be provided by CNES in maintaining in permanent operational condition the Guiana Space Centre launch range and the protective fences around the facilities and the land made available to ESA.

The Ariane 5 Research and Technology Accompaniment Programme Extension (ARTA 2011-2013) aims to eliminate flaws and weaknesses appearing during operational use and to improve knowledge of the functional behaviour of the launcher in flight. The programme serves to maintain the qualification status of the Ariane 5 launch system, thus ensuring guaranteed and independent access to space in the heavy payload class. It is an essential continuation of the current programme and covers sample and testing, flight analysis, flight hardware anomalies and obsolescence and provides a contribution to the maintenance in operational condition - the so-called MCO costs - of Ariane ground testing facilities. Through this programme, for the period 2009-2011, ESA Participating States are also putting measures in place to guarantee the continuity of Ariane 5 production in the event that the risks associated with the worldwide commercial market introduce future imbalances in the currently balanced exploitation.

The preparatory phase of the evolution of Ariane 5 is covered in the Ariane 5 post-ECA Programme, planned to run from 2009 until 2011. This programme will initiate activities for the future evolution of Ariane 5 (the ECA version being the current Ariane 5 workhorse) to bring the development of the re-ignitable Vinci engine and of the new cryogenic upper stage to a level of technical maturity that will allow a final decision on the configuration and full development phase of the improved Ariane 5 version in 2011, a qualification flight around 2016/2017 and operational service up to ~2020. The decision on the development phase will be made on the basis of the results of the preparatory phase, of industrial commitments for development completion and exploitation costs, and of consolidated market needs for the period 2015-2020.

The Vega Research and Technology Accompaniment Programme Extension (VERTA) 2011-2012 is the continuation of the current programme (approved in 2005 for the period 2006-2010) to accompany the initial exploitation of the Vega launcher, and its maintenance in qualified status during its operational life. The accompaniment activities for the period 2011-2012 cover: sample & testing, flight analysis, flight hardware anomalies and obsolescence, as well as specific development activities to support the initial launcher exploitation (flight and ground segment), sized at an adequate level to take into account the Vega learning phase associated with the first flights. Additionally, the programme proposal includes limited system activities on the most promising evolutionary configurations of the Vega launcher.

For the longer term, the proposal for the continuation of the Future Launchers Preparatory Programme (step 2 of period 2 covering the period 2009-2012; the programme was accepted in 2001 and Period 1 was adopted in 2003 to cover period 2004-2006) is aimed at preparing a solid basis for preserving independent access to space, identifying the best option for responding to future institutional needs while maintaining long-term competitiveness on the commercial market (post 2025). The programme will make it possible to achieve a significant step forward in technology maturation and validation through ground and in-flight demonstrators.

The FLPP programme (step 2 of period 2) addresses selected next generation launcher concepts and at the same time investigates new expendable launcher concepts or evolutions of existing launchers. Works also include preparatory activities in view of the launch of the IXV (Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle) on board a Vega launcher in 2012, as well as ground demonstrators and technology development and verification for promising enabling technologies.

In order to safeguard industrial capabilities in certain key areas and the synergies with other launcher programmes (Ariane 5 and Vega evolutions), particular emphasis will be placed on continuation of a High Thrust Engine demonstrator, a Solid Propulsion demonstrator and Cryogenic Upper Stage Technologies, as well as on storable propulsion with activities on the Aestus 2 engine.

The programme period 2 step 2 also covers, in a dedicated sub-envelope, re-entry experimentation, advancing current European know-how on the integration at system level of several re-entry technologies while taking into account multiple future space applications.

ISS at end of STS-124 mission

use of the ISS as a platform to prepare future human exploration

5.2 Human Spaceflight and Exploration

The current objectives in the Human Spaceflight and Exploration area are to maximise the return on European investment in the International Space Station (ISS), in particular its innovative scientific and technological/industrial utilisation as well as the use of the ISS as a platform to prepare future human exploration undertakings. ESA’s Human Spaceflight programme also aims to maintain and further enhance both the operational capabilities acquired and an experienced European Astronaut Corps for the next European human spaceflight and exploration programme, beyond the ISS.

The International Space Station Exploitation Programme - Period 3 is aimed at operating, maintaining and exploiting the European elements of the ISS and providing Europe’s contribution to common operations by delivering cargo and services (re-boost, re-fuelling, attitude control, replenishment of gas and water). This programme also covers the European Astronaut Corps, for which ESA is currently recruiting a new group of astronauts.

The content of the ISS Exploitation Programme consists of Columbus operations, the provision of ATV and the associated Ariane 5 launches, ATV operations, payload operations, astronaut activities, and reimbursable services to NASA. The programme is structured in five-year periods sliding every three years: Period 3 extends from 2008 to 2012 (Period 4, which extends from 2011-2015 -the current end of the ISS lifetime- is not part of the proposal for the 2008 Council at ministerial level). During these two periods the ESA’s commitment is to provide four ATVs in addition to Jules Verne, ATV2 to 5.

The purpose of the ISS evolution programme (a "slice” of the ISS exploitation programme) is to develop flight hardware which will enhance ISS capabilities and/or improve ISS operations. At the same time these systems will allow on-orbit demonstration of capabilities needed for future long-duration human missions. The projects considered are: an air revitalization system, an air quality monitoring system, a high-speed telecommunication terminal and an external robotic operated platform for small payloads.

The European Transportation and Human Exploration Preparatory Activities Programme includes the initial definition phases of an ATV-based cargo download system (Automated Re entry Vehicle – ARV) and the continuation of cooperation with Russia. This new transportation system is planned to comprise a service module, a re-entry module and a launch escape system (for a possible subsequent crewed version).

Studies on the definition of a Moon Lander will also be pursued, along with the development of enabling human exploration capabilities including Moon landing technologies, habitation and life support systems and demonstrators. Scenario and architecture studies will be carried out to prepare future activities as well as to support the refinement of a common European vision for space exploration involving ESA, the EU and their respective Member States.

5.3 Technology and Mandatory Basic Activities

New space programmes are only possible thanks to specific preparatory works and the development of enabling technologies well ahead of time.

In the area of Technology, General Support Technology Programme 5 (already introduced in section 3) has as its objectives to perform feasibility, pre-development and qualification of critical technologies for future space projects, strategic non-dependence and industrial competitiveness, as well as addressing established and new domains (e.g. civil security and Space Situational Awareness) including in-orbit demonstration. It is accompanied by a technology/industrial policy promoting early technology development for use by programmes, and the concept of product re-use to achieve economies of scale and reductions in costs.

The Mandatory Basic Activities proposal covers important basic technology development and studies, as well as a group of activities which provide the core for an efficient Agency.

- The General Studies Programme (GSP) is the principal tool for the coordinated and coherent preparation of future programmes (mission assessments, feasibility studies) within the Agency. It is proposed to extend the benefits of the GSP by increasing the volume of General Studies to reflect a wider range of activities in ESA (from science to applications), and to ensure the availability of resources so as to conduct two parallel pre-definition (phase A) studies in a systematic manner. This approach would offer a positive return on investment, in terms of risk reduction at later stages along the development phases of a programme.

- The basic Technology Research Programme (TRP) is an essential tool for the Agency to develop advanced technology needed in all space sectors. The TRP performs an enabling function, opening up the possibility of new missions, and reducing the inherent risk of missions by demonstrating the feasibility of technology for the envisaged application. Strong technology preparation can mitigate delays and cost overruns. The resources available need to evolve in line with the increasing demands on technology, in particular to cope with new requirements for higher performance, lifetime and availability of space systems, as well as increased demand for competitiveness and non-dependence.

- The Basic Technical Activities have benefited from efficiency gains which have allowed the initiation of additional activities in order to improve technical quality. This included the reinforcement of the Inspector General’s role through the systematic implementation of Integrated Project Reviews (IPRev), the review and deployment of the ECSS standards, the implementation of the Lessons Learned database, and the development of systematic cooperation with universities/research institutes through the Networking & Partnering Initiative. These activities need further development in the future, in line with the evolution of ESA strategy.

- The Technology Harmonisation process has been operating since 2001. The process needs to be extended to new partners, new Member States, the European Commission and the European Defence Agency and adapted accordingly.

- Earthnet provides the steady long-term component under which sustainable international agreements for cooperation with other space agencies in and outside Europe or other international partnerships like GEO, CEOS, International Disaster Charter, standardization bodies, etc. can be accommodated. The programme has been providing the seed funding for the later establishment of ESA Earth Observation programmes and EC co-funding schemes.

- The Education activities planned for the next five years cover a large number of hands-on projects in ESA Member States and European Cooperating States, plus activities targeting primary and secondary schools.

- The Corporate and Administrative Activities primarily comprise activities related to the preparation, initiation and execution of space programmes, the elaboration of policies and the provision of administrative services to Member States. A Financial Management Reform -initiated in 2006- is scheduled to be operational from January 2010. The Financial Reform will have a substantial and positive impact on the Agency’s internal operations, in particular as common tools and processes will be applied Agency-wide.


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