European Space Agency Planning Lunar Mission13th Feb 2021
The UK Space Agency, as a contributor to the European Space Agency, may send the first British astronaut to the Moon by 2029. While this remains only a possibility and not a guarantee, the odds are relatively high. After all, in the last year alone, the UK Space Agency contributed £464 million to the ESA, which puts this country in a strong position. On the other hand, France, Germany, and Italy contributed more considerable sums, which gives all of these countries a competitive edge over the UK. At least, for now.
UK Space Agency Odds: Will a British Astronaut Walk on Moon?
Right now, European Space Agency contributors are guessing if one of their astronauts will be sent on their next lunar mission. ESA believes that they can send a European to the lunar surface by 2024. As part of the Moon mission, the European Space Agency started collaborating with aerospace engineer Airbus. Together, they should build three European Service Modules (ESM). These hardware units should help Orion, a US carrier, get to the lunar surface.
The total number of required ESM is six, and they have seen to be rather costly — €650 million (£580 million), to be precise. The modules will provide essential oxygen and water supply to the US ship, ensure acceleration, and provide power.
NASA’s latest Moon mission implies landing the first European astronauts on the moon by 2024. However, as the ESA director-general Jan Woerner emphasized in the latest press conference, NASA understands that such a schedule is tight, and the actual landing date may have to be postponed. They have mentioned it more than once during the Trump administration, but Biden’s associates may have a different approach to this matter. Woerner believes that some of the pressure is already off, so it is more than likely that the first people, perhaps even a British astronaut, may soon land on the lunar surface.
Andreas Hammer, head of Airbus, is also pretty confident about the newest Moon mission odds. He adds that Airbus is putting their best minds into Orion European Service Modules manufacture and development. Hammer is confident that Europe, with the support of the European Space Agency and the UK Space Agency, is entering a new space era, and a successful Moon mission is only the beginning.