ESA Faces Issues as Agency Attempts to Expand

As European Space Agency Grows, New Members Face Familiar Problems
Space News

The European Space Agency (ESA), which counted 12 national members in the 1980s, reached 18 in 2008 and is likely on the way to 25-nation membership, faces several hurdles as it tries to attract small European nations, according to European government officials.

Many of the problems facing prospective ESA members are those that confront small nations that are currently members of the agency. These include the difficulties of developing a national space industry with a tiny space budget, and how to invest these limited resources in ways that avoid head-on competition for contracts with ESA’s well-armed larger members….

As much as current members, candidate ESA nations expect to use the agency’s geographic-distribution rules to assure that most of what they invest returns in the form of contracts to their industries. But assuring high-technology contracts in nations with little or no aerospace industries is easier said than done, governments.

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