The EU's enthusiasm for space is evident: just before Christmas the European Commission and Parliament approved a 14.8 billion euro budget for EU space activity. The funding for the period 2021 to 2027 includes 9 billion euros for Galileo and 5.4 billion euros for Copernicus.
These grand initiatives and intensive work at the European Space Agency are further encouraged by increased competition from the UK, USA and China.
The UK is an active member of the European Space Academy but due to it leaving the EU its relationship with the European space sector will change. While it will be able to participate in some programmes for as long as until 2028 (like the Copernicus Earth observation program) it will be no longer participate, or participate on less favourable terms, in others. Some EU members of the space sector fear that if one big players decides to leave, others will soon follow.
Even though European projects of Galileo and Copernicus have encouraged the creation of new space companies in Europe, they haven't been successful to the same extent as the US, which managed to foster globally leading companies such as SpaceX and PlanetLabs.
China was ahead of Europe in sending a robotic mission to Mars to collect samples and its space sector, something that only the Soviet Union and the US have done before.
There are areas where ESA leads the way, particularly in Earth observation thanks to the Sentinel fleet. Catching space debris and working out how to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth are another two of the growth areas for public and private initiatives in Europe. ESA is also pushing ahead with its Space Rider vehicle, an un-crewed flying machine which resembles a mini-Shuttle, and could offer commercial and institutional clients a relatively low-cost means of reaching orbit, and returning home afterwards.
However, the new Ariane 6 rocket continues to face delays. Much vaunted as a flexible new vehicle to compete in this highly-competitive market, the replacement for the heavy-lift Ariane 5 is now only due to launch in the second quarter of 2022. Arianespace has called on European governments to step up their commitment to launchers to better compete with SpaceX, which has grown rapidly on the basis of lucrative American government launch contracts.
You can read the full article here: https://www.euronews.com/2021/01/11/europe-s-space-leaders-seek-to-boost-sector-in-light-of-brexit-covid-and-international-com