The European Space Agency got its biggest financial boost in a generation on Thursday, with 22 member states agreeing to invest €14.4bn over the next five years.
At a two-day conference in Seville, Spain, the balance of financial contributions changed, with Germany becoming the biggest contributor to the ESA budget. Germany contributes 22,9% of the budget, followed by France with 18.5% and Italy with 15.9%. The UK also hiked its contribution, paying in 11,5% of the budget.
Germany is expected to benefit massively from new R&D contracts.
Among the practical implications of the investment is that the ESA will be able to develop a network of satellites able to track carbon dioxide emissions across the globe. Furthermore, the ESA will develop a satellite system to support 5G networks.
The agency will also start to plan missions to the Moon and Mars, in cooperation with NASA. The ESA will fund two propulsion units for the American Orion crew capsules valued at €2bn. In addition, the ESA will proceed with Gateway, the first space station to orbit the moon, eventually allowing European astronauts to land on the moon.