European astronauts call on region’s leaders to accelerate space-related efforts

The Association of Space Explorers – Europe – representing over 45 European astronauts and cosmonauts – has issued a manifesto calling on European leaders to accelerate efforts to strengthen the region’s space capabilities. The organisations notes that Europe ‘is lagging in the increasingly strategic domains of space transportation and exploration’, and that inaction in these areas ‘will have a tremendous strategic and economic impact’, while also affecting the region’s industrial competitiveness. In the astronauts’ view, Europe must seize the opportunity to ‘become a fully recognised partner of the global space endeavour’; doing so would enable the region to ‘ensure a sustainable and balanced utilisation of Low Earth Orbit, venture to the Moon and Mars, help preserving our environment through a “green space economy”, bringing benefits to humanity, in Europe and elsewhere on Earth’. In particular, they particularly call for more efforts towards ensuring that Europe can count on its own autonomous access to space for humans, without relying on the space transportation services provided by other actors. Finally, the astronauts ask European decision-makers to give the European Space Agency (ESA) ‘the mandate to develop an ambitious roadmap for Europe’s future in space exploration’.