Germany joins the Aurora Exploration Programme

July 18, 2005

Germany joined the Preparatory Phase of the European Space Exploration Programme Aurora. It thus becomes the twelfth country participating in the programme (*), which allows scientists and industrial companies from Germany to participate in the Aurora Programme.

This decision has been warmly welcomed by ESA and unanimously endorsed by the eleven other Aurora Participating States at the 18th Aurora Board of Participants meeting held in Paris on 12 July 2005. "After the recent decisions of France, Switzerland and Canada to increase their contributions, this decision further strengthens the Aurora Programme and creates a positive momentum for the upcoming decisions at ministerial level", said Daniel Sacotte, ESA's Director of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration. "With researchers from other countries currently not yet participating in Aurora, such as Denmark, Finland and Norway having also shown interest to take part in ExoMars related scientific teams, there are good chances that the number of ESA member states finally joining Aurora will increase even further".

The Preparatory Phase of the European Space Exploration Programme Aurora started in 2001. It aims at defining a European framework for the exploration of Moon and Mars and to prepare a robust and sustainable European Space Exploration Programme. The ExoMars mission, scheduled to be launched in 2011, features a Mars lander and a rover that will carry out exobiology and geophysical analysis of the Martian environment. The mission is being defined and designed during the Preparatory Phase along with the preparation of the European contribution to a possible international Mars sample return mission and other studies and technology developments to prepare for further exploration missions of the Solar system.

A proposal for the next phase of the European Space Exploration Programme will be submitted for decision by ESA member states at the upcoming ESA Council at Ministerial level in December in Berlin and will feature the ExoMars mission as a major programme element.
-end-
(*) Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

For further information, please contact:

Piero Messina
Aurora Exploration Programme
Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration
ESA HQ - Paris
Tel: +33 6 87715126

Dieter Isakeit
Erasmus User Centre and Communication Office
Directorate of Human Spaceflight, Microgravity and Exploration
ESA/ESTEC - Noordwijk (the Netherlands)
Tel: +31 71 565 5451

European Space Agency

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