The EU’s involvement in space exploration helps us to discover new frontiers while also stimulating technological innovation back on Earth in fields such as recycling, health, bio-technology, energy management, and environmental monitoring.
Space exploration is a sector of strategic political importance for the EU and a hallmark of international cooperation.
A series of European ministerial conferences initiated in 2009 laid the ground for the establishment of an enlarged international mechanism for coordination and cooperation in space exploration – the International Space Exploration Forum (ISEF). The objective of ISEF is to advance international dialogue on space exploration. The European Commission’s role is to prepare common European positions.
The United States hosted the last meeting in Washington D.C. on 9 January 2014. Japan will host the next meeting in 2016 or 2017.
Through individual EU countries and the European Space Agency (ESA), Europe has developed numerous world-class technical assets for space exploration, a first class scientific community, a competitive industry, and a wide technological base. European space exploration achievements include:
The Commission supports several research activities related to space exploration through Horizon 2020 where about EUR 30 million in funding is available for 2014 and 2015.