Last month, ESA published its “ESA Space Exploration Strategy”. It outlines the long-term planning for Europe’s participation in space exploration, focusing on the next ten years but also taking into account longer-term perspectives.
The strategy provides ESA´s conclusions on the questions about why to explore, where to explore and how to explore and focuses on three common mission goals for the next decades:
- Exploitation of human-tended infrastructures in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) beyond 2020 for advancing research and enabling human exploration of deep space;
- Returning samples from the Moon and Mars;
- Extending human presence to the Moon and Mars in a step-wise approach.
On the basis of this document a ‘Resolution on Europe’s Space Exploration Strategy’ has been developed by ESA and adopted by its Member States’ Ministers at the Council meeting at Ministerial level beginning of December last year. The Resolution reaffirms ESA’s exploration destinations (LEO, Moon and Mars) and objectives for space exploration. It mandates the ESA Director General to propose respective programmatic activities to the Member States.
The work of ISECG and its products like the Global Exploration Roadmap (GER) have informed the ESA strategy and provided the international space exploration context.
The ESA Space Exploration Strategy can be downloaded here.