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European Space Agency discusses future missions and astronauts

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The European Space Agency (ESA) has been discussing new missions and a higher budget at its ministerial council meeting in Paris.

In total, the space agency wants to get a three-year budget of about €18 billion ($22.6 billion) approved by the 22 member states, which would be about a quarter more than last time.

On Wednesday, the agency also plans to announce which of the more than 22,000 applicants have made it into the next training year for astronauts. The ESA is looking for up to six astronauts in permanent positions. In addition, it wants to create a reserve of astronauts.

At the start of the meeting on Tuesday, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck emphasized the importance of space travel for security as well as for climate protection and sustainability. Data from space could be used for environmental protection, he said.

Germany plans to continue to make a strong financial contribution to ESA projects, the minister added.

At the meeting, Germany is due to take over the leadership of the ESA council for the next period from France.

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