Press Release

Redirecting ESA programmes in response to geopolitical crisis

By SpaceRef Editor
April 13, 2022
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Following the Russian aggression against Ukraine, ESA’s Director General has initiated a comprehensive review of all activities currently undertaken in cooperation with Russia and Ukraine. The objective is to determine the possible consequences of this new geopolitical context for ESA programmes and activities and to create a more resilient and robust space infrastructure for Europe.

The ESA Council on 13 April acknowledged the following findings and took the following decisions.

ESA will discontinue cooperative activities with Russia on Luna-25, -26 and -27. As with ExoMars, the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the resulting sanctions put in place represent a fundamental change of circumstances and make it impossible for ESA to implement the planned lunar cooperation. However, ESA’s science and technology for these missions remains of vital importance. A second flight opportunity has already been secured on board a NASA-led Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) mission for the PROSPECT lunar drill and volatile analysis package (planned for Luna-27). An alternative flight opportunity to test the ESA navigation camera known as PILOT-D (planned for Luna-25) is already being procured from a commercial service provider.

Meanwhile, a way forward for the PILOT precision landing and hazard avoidance technology (planned for Luna-27) is already being defined. This capability is needed for European Lunar exploration activities such as the European Large Logistic Lander (EL3), proposed for decision at CM22. Further, the ESA Director General and the President of the Japanese agency JAXA last week signed an agreement to fly ESA’s EMS-L, the Exospheric Mass Spectrometer instrument, on board the JAXA/ISRO LUPEX lunar rover mission. This adds to the growing list of European experiments flying to the Moon in the next few years.

Although all the elements of the ExoMars Rover mission (the launcher, carrier module, descent module and Rosalind Franklin rover) have now passed their flight readiness reviews, because cooperation with Roscosmos on ExoMars has been suspended, the mission will not be launched in September this year. Instead, a fast-track study is now under way led by Thales Alenia Space of Italy to assess options for the way forward.


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About the European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 22 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Slovenia, Latvia and Lithuania are Associate Members.

ESA has established formal cooperation with six Member States of the EU. Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country. It is working in particular with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes as well as with Eumetsat for the development of meteorological missions.

Learn more about ESA at www.esa.int 

For further information:

ESA Newsroom and Media Relations Office – Ninja Menning

Email: media@esa.int

Tel: +31 71 565 6409

SpaceRef staff editor.