The Ministry increases its contribution to space R&D within ESA

On the occasion of the European Space Agency’s Council Meeting Space19+, held at the Ministerial Level on 27th – 28th November 2019 in Sevilla, Spain, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic (MEYS) increased its contribution to the ESA R&D programmes, which will reach up to 350 mil. CZK per year in 2022.

The MEYS’s yearly contribution to the ESA’s Science Programme and Basic Activities will increase from 7.4 mil. EUR in 2019 to almost 9.2 mil. EUR in 2022. The gradual increase is due to ESA’s aim in raising the purchasing power of the Science Programme, which in recent year deteriorated and weakened the Programme’s ability to develop and launch missions in planned cadence. Czech research organisations and companies are currently participating in a number of Science Programme missions, such as Solar Orbiter, JUICE, ATHENA, PLATO, Comet Interceptor, eXTP or ARIEL.

The MEYS will increase its contribution to the PRODEX programme, which is focused on the development of scientific instrumentation for space science missions. The contribution will increase from current 2.2 mil. EUR to 2.3 mil. EUR from 2022, while the period for which the MEYS will contribute to the PRODEX programme will be extended until 2025. The Czech Republic’s participation in PRODEX enables Czech research institutes, in cooperation with businesses, to become even more involved in cutting-edge scientific projects, using the most demanding technologies that further help to the development of Czech industry.

The MEYS will also contribute 0.55 mil. EUR per year to the Guiana Space Centre. Moreover, the MEYS will finance the participation of Czech Republic in the “Space Safety” programme focused on the development of the European space safety system. The contribution of MEYS will also enable Czech entities to take part in the preparation of ESA’s mission for operational monitoring of space weather. The aim of the service is to reduce the risks and costs for – not only – space infrastructure around the Earth related to space environment. The contribution of MEYS to the programme will be increased from current 2 mil. EUR to a total of 2.8 mil. EUR.

The MEYS will also finance the Czech Republic’s participation in the E3P programme focused on microgravity experiments and the development of technologies for robotic exploration by 1.3 mil. EUR.

The purpose of ESA is to ensure and promote cooperation between European countries in the field of space research and technology for exclusively peaceful purposes and their space applications with a view to their use for scientific purposes and functional space application systems. The ESA was established in 1975. The Czech Republic has been a Member State of ESA since 2008.

The Ministry of Transport is in charge of coordinating the cooperation of the Czech Republic with the ESA. The Ministry of Transport finances other ESA programmes close to industrial targets, totalling approx. 1.3 billion CZK per year. The ESA R&D programmes are financed by the MEYS. The MEYS’s contribution to the ESA has been so far approx. 320 million CZK per year.

ESA’s Council at Ministerial Level “Space19+”