The Norwegian Government will keep its budget for the European Space Agency at the current level.
The decision that Norway commits to maintain its participation in the European Space Agency at the level it is today, comes one week before the ministerial meeting in Paris, which will shape ESA's budget for the next three years.
"We are very happy to see that an agreement has been reached, supported by the Parliament. This demonstrates the importance of the Norwegian space sector for the entire country," says Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency.
The agreement means that Norway's support for ESA will remain at 161 million euro distributed over the coming period, a little over 1.6 billion Norwegian kroner in today's currency.
This will enable Norway's participation in the ESA programs that are most significant for Norwegian companies and research organizations.
"Of equal importance, continues Hauglie-Hanssen, we can use ESA as a way for further increasing the relevance of the use of satellite and other data from space for society as a whole. The participation in ESA is also a prerequisite for a successful implementation of the national investments described in the Hurdal platform."
ESA develops and operates the European civilian activities in space and is the largest organization for research and development in Europe. Norway has been a member of ESA since 1987.
European space companies have ESA as their home market, and it is here that technology for further development, and later offered to the global market, is developed, tested and sold. ESA's technology development is also the foundation for EU's space programs, including those for navigation, climate and maritime monitoring.
"No individual country in Europe is large enough to operate in space alone. This is why we have the European Space Agency, and in challenging times it is particularly important to contribute to a common European investment in space," says Christian Hauglie-Hanssen.
ESA's 22 member states contribute to the space organization's obligatory program based on their gross domestic product. This finances ESA's science activities, early technology development, the European spaceport in Kourou in French Guyana, and the ESA administration.
In addition, a menu of new and voluntary technology programs are offered at ministerial level meetings every third year.
Here the space minister for each ESA member state declares which of the voluntary programs that their nation wishes to invest in for the coming three-year period. It is in these voluntary programs that the Norwegian space sector has the greatest opportunities to win contracts.
The next ministerial meeting for ESA takes place in Paris on the 22nd and 23rd of November 2022. The Norwegian delegation will be headed by Ms. Anne Marit Bjørnflaten, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, and Mr. Christian Hauglie-Hanssen, Director General of the Norwegian Space Agency.
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