Finland to study participation in ESA’s human spaceflight programme
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment has launched a study to assess the benefits of Finland’s possible participation in the European Space Agency’s (ESA) human spaceflight and space exploration programme.
Joining the programme would give Finland access to projects on the International Space Station, missions to the moon, the planned space station in orbit around the moon, and spaceflights to Mars.
“Until now, Finland has not participated in the ESA’s optional programme for human spaceflights and space exploration. Instead, Finland has allocated funding to other programmes based on national strengths and strategic priorities. However, the Finnish space sector has developed in many ways in recent years. For example, a number of innovative products, applications and services developed here could be relevant to manned spaceflights, robotic missions and other space exploration,” says Maija Lönnqvist, Finnish member of the ESA Council.
Study to focus on benefits of participation
In order for Finland to take part in the programme, it would have to offer Finnish companies and research organisations opportunities not available through other ESA programmes.
The study will assess the following:
- How would Finnish businesses, research and education benefit financially and socially from Finland’s participation in the ESA’s optional programme for human spaceflights and space exploration in the programming period 2023–2025 and beyond?
- What expertise, products and services relevant to the programme do Finnish companies and research organisations possess?
- Which objectives, projects and measures of the programme would be of interest to Finland, taking into account the aims of its national space strategy and the capabilities and strengths of the Finnish space sector? What new scientific and research opportunities would the programme offer?
- How have reference countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Austria) benefited from joining the programme?
In practice, participation in the programme would mean an increased funding contribution to the ESA by Finland. Finland’s total annual budget for the ESA’s mandatory and optional programmes is currently around EUR 28 million.
Finland will consider the results of the study when it decides in 2022 in which ESA programmes to participate in the next programming period. The project was competitively tendered and it will be carried out by KPMG Oy and 4Front Oy. At the moment, Finland and Estonia are the only ESA Member States that do not take part in the human spaceflight and space exploration programme.
Maija Lönnqvist, Chief Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 105, [email protected]
Tuija Ypyä, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 062 115, [email protected] or [email protected]