ESA to test modifying its geo return rule, an agency pillar, with a ‘fair return’ policy on selected pilot projects

by Peter B. de Selding

LA PLATA, Maryland — The 22-nation European Space Agency (ESA), seeking to become more agile and adapt to the changes in the space sector, will test whether it can loosen the tie that has bound its member governments together for 49 years without risking the collapse of the system.

The agency’s ruling council on June 19 agreed to test whether ESA’s geographic-return rule can somehow be diluted just enough so that it no longer creates program inefficiencies, but not so much that the agency loses its governments’ financial . . .

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