The ESA is to invest €14.4 billion ($15.8 billion) in space exploration including a moon mission up to 2022. Germany is now the largest contributor to the agency's biggest ever budget.
European space exploration is getting its biggest financial boost in 25 years. At a conference in Seville, Spain, the 22 member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) on Thursday agreed on a €14.4 billion ($15.8 billion) budget for the next five years.
"It's a real surprise, it's more than I proposed, I'm very happy," ESA Director-General Jan Wörner said.
Germany now contributes the lion's share of the budget with €3.3 billion, which amounts to 22.9%. France follows with 18.5% before Italy with 15.9%.
What will the money be used for?
In addition to these projects the ESA agreed on new focuses:
Moon mission and SMEs
Referring to Germany's contribution, the government's coordinator of aerospace policy, Thomas Jarzombek stressed that "we have demonstrated that we are a reliable partner of ESA."
He said Germany will be able to strengthen the role of small-and medium-sized companies in space exploration and "we managed to help enable the European moon mission with a contribution of €55 million."
ESA is closely watching the US space agency NASA's Artemis mission, which aims to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. European states are so far merely providing a module for the Orion spacecraft, but ESA chief Wörner on Thursday assured member states that "we will send Europeans to the moon."