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Denmark increases investment in space

December 04, 2014
Denmark is contributing DKK 313 million to the European Space Agency's programmes, including Earth observation and participation in the International Space Station.

Twenty member countries of the European Space Agency (ESA) met at the ESA ministerial conference in Luxembourg on 02 December 2014 and agreed to invest up to DKK 44 billion on the ESA's voluntary programmes over the next three years. Denmark is contributing DKK 313 million.

Denmark has prioritised contributing to the International Space Station (ISS) until 2020, as well as focusing on Danish activities within Earth observation programmes. The latter sees an increase compared to the 2012 ministerial conference when relatively fewer funds were provided. Back then, Denmark contributed with a total of DKK 257 million.

Minister for Higher Education and Science Sofie Carsten Nielsen is pleased that Denmark's investments in Earth observation programmes and Danish participation in the International Space Station are on a similar level to previous investments.  

- Within the next two years, we will have an astronaut and a large climate instrument sent up to the ISS. Denmark's contribution to ESA sends a clear signal about our participation, says Sofie Carsten Nielsen.

This year’s ESA ministerial conference took place in Luxembourg. Photo: ESA
This year’s ESA ministerial conference took place in Luxembourg. Photo: ESA

The Danish share will continue to be divided among known Danish areas of strength, which, in addition to Earth observation and the ISS, include telecommunication (ARTES) and technology development (GSTP). Furthermore, Denmark has chosen to contribute to the ESA's programme for developing the Sentinel satellites as part of the EU's climate and environmental monitoring initiative - Copernicus.

The distribution of the Danish investment is based on the advice of the minister's space research committee, which comprises researchers, public authorities and companies involved in the space field.

- I believe we must focus on how important the space sector is for our modern infrastructure and daily lives. It is not only impressive and spectacular that the ESA can land on a comet millions of kilometres out in space, but space travel is much closer to home in our daily lives, such as through the need for reliable weather forecasts and safe navigation, says Sofie Carsten Nielsen.

The chair of the advisory committee Prof. Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard of Aarhus University:

- The Danish Space Research Committee has carefully considered and weighted all relevant Danish interests in space. These include scientific and commercial interests as well as those of the authorities. I therefore believe that the recommendation made to the minister has been very well weighted, says Jørgen Christensen-Dalsgaard.

About the Danish contribution to ESA

  • The Danish membership contribution is equally divided between mandatory and voluntary programmes.
  • The mandatory activities include ESA launch base and the basic science programme, while the voluntary programmes include Earth observation, manned space travel, telecommunications, launchers and navigation. 

For further information please contact:

Head of division Peter Sloth, e-mail pesl@fi.dk, tel. +45 7231 8290
Senior adviser Gorm Kofoed Petersen, e-mail gpe@fi.dk, tel. +45 7231 8287
Press and communication adviser Steen Bruun Jensen, e-mail sbj@fi.dk, tel. +45 4132 6030.

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