Other major European programmes
One of the most used space applications is Earth observation to allow weather forecasts for up to 9 days. Only the use of Meteosat satellites satellites has made such progress possible over the last three decades.
Satellite communications began almost 60 years ago with the launch of the first dedicated satellites and has since become a very important economic sector. In our daily life we make constant use of satellite communications through television, internet, telephone and other communication means. Telecommunications is the most developed satellite-enabled service and generates a worldwide turnover of about €55 billion/year. Today, the largest application for satellite communication systems in Europe is television distribution. More than 3 000 channels are available viaEuropean satellite operators. Satellites are also the vital link for 'live' broadcasting of news, sports and other major events.
Europe’s successful position in space is underpinned by years – sometimes decades – of preparatory technology research and development to perfect new instruments, techniques and materials. ESA’s long-term technical support and innovative activities, as well as Member States activities have allowed many technology developments boosting European competitiveness in the global space market. The EU through its research and development framework programmes is also supporting technology development in space fields and is committed to increase its support in the future. The European Commission is committed to promote technological progress to stimulate industrial innovation and competiveness. Therefore, building on the success of FP-7, in the 2014-2020 timeframe, Horizon 2020 will enable the European space research community to further develop advanced space technologies and operational concepts "from idea to demonstration in space". This will make the EU one of the main sources of funding for space research in Europe, alongside ESA, Member States, and European space industry.