IS THERE A PLACE FOR TWO EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCIES ?
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)/ EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY FOR THE SPACE PROGRAMME (EUSPA)
The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) are two prominent organizations in Europe’s space sector, each with unique roles and competencies. While EUSPA focuses on the development and exploitation of European space infrastructure, ESA is dedicated to scientific missions and research in various fields of space exploration. These two organizations collaborate closely to achieve common goals, and their joint efforts have resulted in significant progress in Europe’s space capabilities.
In this article, we will analyze the governing bodies and structures of EUSPA and ESA, as well as their similarities and differences. We will explore how these two organizations work in collaboration to achieve common goals in advancing scientific progress and promoting space exploration. Moreover, we will also investigate their contributions to the economic growth and competitiveness of Europe
EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY FOR THE SPACE PROGRAMME (EUSPA)
The European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) is a legal entity established by Regulation (EU) 2021/697 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 28 April 2021 to support the EU’s space program and promote the development and exploitation of European space infrastructure. The agency has a distinct legal personality and is established for an indefinite period.
EUSPA was created by merging two existing EU agencies: the European GNSS Agency (GSA) and the European Union Agency for the Space Programme (EUSC).
Under the recently revised Space Regulation, EUSPA has been given expanded responsibilities in managing the exploitation of the Galileo and EGNOS systems. This includes overseeing their service provision and ensuring operational security. Additionally, EUSPA is now tasked with coordinating user-related aspects of GOVSATCOM in collaboration with Member States and other entities involved in the program.
EUSPA’s mandate also includes the development of downstream markets and the promotion of innovation based on Galileo, EGNOS, and Copernicus for commercial users. The Agency will leverage funding mechanisms such as Fundamental Elements and Horizon Europe to achieve this goal. EUSPA is also responsible for the security accreditation of all components of the EU Space Programme, ensuring the safety and integrity of the program.
The European Commission has the option to entrust EUSPA with additional tasks in the future. These expanded responsibilities demonstrate the importance of EUSPA in the European space sector and the significant role it plays in advancing Europe’s space capabilities.
EUSPA’s main tasks include managing the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), which is known as Galileo, as well as the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). EUSPA also supports the development of new space technologies and applications and provides technical and scientific advice to EU institutions and member states. Its mission is to ensure that Europe remains at the forefront of space technology and benefits from the many applications and services that space provides, from navigation and communication to climate monitoring and disaster management.
GOVERNING AND ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF EUROPEAN UNION AGENCY FOR THE SPACE PROGRAMME (EUSPA )
EUSPA is governed by a Management Board, which is the agency’s decision-making body. The Management Board is composed of representatives from each EU Member State, representatives of the European Commission, and an independent expert appointed by the European Parliament. The Management Board is responsible for setting the agency’s strategic objectives, supervising its operation, and ensuring that it fulfills its mission.The agency is headed by an Executive Director, who is appointed by the Management Board.
The organizational structure of EUSPA is divided into four directorates, each responsible for specific areas of the agency’s work:
1-Navigation: This directorate is responsible for the management and operation of the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).
2-Security: This directorate is responsible for the development and operation of space-based applications and services related to security and defense.
3-Communications: This directorate is responsible for the development and operation of space-based communication systems and services, including satellite broadband and internet connectivity.
4-Applications: This directorate is responsible for the development and implementation of space-based applications and services in areas such as climate monitoring, disaster management, and precision agriculture.
In addition to the four directorates, EUSPA has a number of support services, including the Legal and Procurement Unit, the Human Resources Unit, the Finance Unit, and the Information Technology Unit. These units provide administrative and technical support to the agency and ensure that it operates efficiently and effectively
EUROPEAN SPACE AGENCY (ESA)
ESA stands for the European Space Agency. It is an intergovernmental organization that was established on May 30, 1975, by 10 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Today, ESA has 22 member states, including Canada as an associate member, and is headquartered in Paris, France.
The European Space Agency (ESA) also is an independent international organization with a declaration of acceptance for UN rescue, liability, and regulation, and its registry of space objects. As such, ESA can be a “launching state” and therefore liable for damage.
ESA has a long and rich history. The organization was created by merging two entities, the European Space Research Organization (ESRO) and the European Launch Development Organization (ELDO). The ESA Convention was endorsed in 1975 and has been in force since 1980. ESA is headquartered in Paris and has a staff of 2000 persons. The organization’s financing is based on the fair return principle, meaning that contracts to the companies of member states correspond to the extent of the member state’s investment, unlike competition in the EU.
ESA has several programs, including mandatory, optional, and operational services for customers. The organization focuses on scientific missions, such as the Rosetta Mission, which involved landing on a comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA also has a preference for European industry, employing a “buy European” policy.
ESA’s organizational structure includes the Council, Director General, and staff appointed in relation to qualification and geographical distribution by the Director. The Council is composed of representatives of member states, with each member state having one vote except for optional programs in which they do not participate. The Director General is appointed by 2/3 of the member states and is responsible for managing the staff and representing the organization. ESA has an IPR regime, and its intellectual property is freely available to member states in principle.
ESA’s relations with third parties are strong, as seen in the ExoMars program, in which ESA and the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, work in partnership. The partners agreed on a balanced sharing of responsibilities for different mission elements, with ESA providing the Trace Gas Orbiter and the Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module, and Roscosmos responsible for the descent module and surface platform. The two partners will supply scientific instruments and cooperate closely in the scientific exploitation of the missions.
ESA also has a close relationship with the European Union (EU), with the two structures sharing a joint European Strategy for Space. ESA acts as the implementing organization for the development and procurement of the space and ground segments associated with EU initiatives.
ESA has also developed the 2007 European Space Policy, focusing on navigation and telecommunication, GMES (observation), and Galileo (civil navigation)
The duties of ESA are to coordinate and promote space research and exploration in Europe, with the goal of advancing scientific knowledge, enhancing economic growth and competitiveness, and contributing to the well-being of citizens. Some of the specific tasks of ESA include:
- Developing and launching space missions, such as the Rosetta mission to study a comet and the Solar Orbiter mission to study the Sun.
- Operating a variety of space observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Gaia mission to map the Milky Way.
- Conducting research in areas such as Earth observation, planetary science, astronomy, and space technology.
- Collaborating with other space agencies and organizations around the world, including NASA, JAXA, and the European Union.
- Managing the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, which is one of the largest space research facilities in the world.
ESA plays a key role in advancing Europe’s space capabilities and contributing to global scientific progress.
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES OF GOVERNING BODIES OF ESA AND EUSPA
Despite having different roles and competencies, these organizations complement each other’s activities and collaborate to achieve common goals. In this part of the article, we will explore the similarities and differences between EUSPA and ESA and their collaborations and answer the question of whether two space agencies are necessary in Europe.
The governing systems and structures of EUSPA and ESA have some similarities and differences.Both EUSPA and ESA have a similar structure with a governing board responsible for setting strategic objectives and supervising operations. However, EUSPA is a legal entity of the European Union, while ESA is an intergovernmental organization. EUSPA has a simpler organizational structure than ESA, with four directorates, while ESA has several programs and its intellectual property is freely available to member states in principle. EUSPA has a Security Accreditation Board responsible for the accreditation of personnel, physical security, and information security within the agency, while ESA has an IPR regime.
We can say both EUSPA and ESA have similar governing systems and structures, with some differences based on their legal status, membership, and organizational complexity.
Similarities: EUSPA and ESA share a common goal of advancing space research, exploration, and infrastructure. They also collaborate on projects, such as the development and deployment of the Galileo system, which provides Europe with an independent positioning and timing capability. Both organizations have a close relationship with the European Union (EU), and ESA acts as the implementing organization for the development and procurement of the space and ground segments associated with EU initiatives. EUSPA provides technical and scientific advice to EU institutions and member states, ensuring that the development and exploitation of European space infrastructure aligns with the EU’s strategic objectives.
Differences: EUSPA focuses on promoting the development and exploitation of European space infrastructure, managing the European Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), Galileo, and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS). EUSPA also develops new space technologies and applications and provides technical and scientific advice to EU institutions and member states. In contrast, ESA’s primary focus is on scientific missions and research in various fields of space exploration.ESA develops and launches space missions, operates space observatories, and conducts research in areas such as Earth observation, planetary science, astronomy, and space technology. ESA and EUSPA also have different funding systems.
ADVANTAGES OF HAVING TWO DIFFERENT FUNDING SYSTEMS FOR ESA AND EUSPA FOR SPACE INOVATIONS
ESA and EUSPA have different funding systems, although they are both funded by the European Union (EU) and their member states.
ESA is an intergovernmental organization that receives most of its funding from the national space agencies of its 22 member states. Each member state contributes to ESA’s budget based on their Gross Domestic Product (GDP). ESA’s budget is divided into mandatory and optional programs. The mandatory programs, such as the Galileo program, receive the most funding, while the optional programs, such as scientific research and technology development, receive less funding. In addition to the member state contributions, ESA also receives funding from the EU for specific programs and projects.
EUSPA, on the other hand, is an EU agency that is funded directly by the EU. Its budget is part of the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which is a seven-year plan for EU spending. The MFF is decided upon by the European Council and the European Parliament, and EUSPA’s budget is allocated from the EU’s overall budget. EUSPA’s budget is primarily used for the development and operation of the Galileo and EGNOS systems, as well as for research and innovation projects related to space technology and applications.
ESA’s funding comes mainly from its member states, while EUSPA is directly funded by the EU. While both organizations collaborate closely and work towards common goals, their different funding systems reflect their different organizational structures and mandates.
Having two different funding systems for ESA and EUSPA has several advantages in realizing the programs like Galileo. Firstly, it allows for a clear division of roles and responsibilities, with ESA focusing on the technical aspects of the program and EUSPA on the management and operation of the Galileo system. This specialization ensures that each organization can focus on its strengths and deliver the best possible results.
Secondly, having two separate funding systems allows for more efficient budget management. EUSPA receives funding directly from the European Union budget, while ESA receives funding from its Member States. This ensures that each organization has a clear budget allocation and can plan its activities accordingly. It also allows for better cost-sharing between the European Union and its Member States.
Furthermore, having two different funding systems promotes a higher level of transparency and accountability. ESA’s funding system is based on contributions from its Member States, which are proportional to the size of their economy. This ensures that each Member State has a say in how the funds are allocated and how the program is managed. On the other hand, EUSPA’s funding system is directly controlled by the European Union, which provides a greater level of transparency and accountability to the program.
Having two different funding systems enables greater flexibility in decision-making. ESA’s funding system allows for greater involvement of Member States in the decision-making process, while EUSPA’s funding system allows for greater involvement of the European Union institutions. This enables the program to respond to changing priorities and adapt to new circumstances.
EUSPA and ESA’s contributions to the economic growth and competitiveness of Europe cannot be overstated. EUSPA’s management of the Galileo system has created jobs and driven innovation in the space industry, while ESA’s research and development activities have led to the development of new technologies and the creation of new businesses. Additionally, the many applications and services that space provides, such as navigation, communication, and climate monitoring, have the potential to improve the lives of European citizens and contribute to the sustainable development of the planet.
In terms of organizational structures, ESA is an intergovernmental organization that receives most of its funding from the national space agencies of its 22 member states. On the other hand, EUSPA is an EU agency that is funded directly by the EU. These different funding systems allow for a more efficient division of roles and responsibilities, budget management, transparency, accountability, and flexibility in decision-making.
In conclusion, the existence of both EUSPA and ESA is necessary for the advancement of Europe’s space capabilities, as they serve unique and important roles in the European space sector. Their partnership and collaboration have resulted in significant progress in Europe’s space capabilities, and their contributions to the economic growth and competitiveness of Europe cannot be overstated. Their different funding systems allow for greater involvement of both Member States and the European Union institutions in decision-making, leading to better responsiveness to changing priorities and adaptability to new circumstances.As a summary we can say that , EUSPA and ESA are essential institutions for the advancement of space exploration and scientific progress in Europe.