SpaceNews: The Ukrainian government asked to join European Space Agency

The European Space Agency is continuing discussions with NASA on how the agencies can work together to revive ESA’s ExoMars mission after ending cooperation with Russia.

ESA announced March 17 it halted plans to launch the mission, featuring a European-built rover, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia was to launch the mission on a Proton rocket and provide a landing platform and other components.

Josef Aschbacher, director general of European Space Agency – ESA, said during a panel of space agency leaders at the 37th Space Symposium April 6, that, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Ukrainian government asked to join ESA.

“This is a big decision and not something that can be done very quickly,” he said in the interview, with a years-long process that nations must follow to become full members. “This is not something that will happen tomorrow.”

He said ESA was considering ways it could assist Ukraine in the near term, such as providing satellite data to support damage assessments and agriculture.

I would expect significant financial support from the West in rebuilding Ukraine, and space can help with that.”

Aschbacher, like NASA officials, said that International Space Station operations remain unaffected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and that ESA was preparing proposals to extend its role on the ISS through 2030. “We’re working toward the normal continuation of the operations of the ISS.”

Read more via SpaceNews

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