European governments give provisional OK to purchase commercial cargo mission to ISS in 2028

by Peter B. de Selding

LA PLATA, Maryland — European Space Agency (ESA) managers did not get a ringing endorsement of a major space-exploration program at ESA’s Nov. 6 ministerial conference, but they did win agreement to spend $80 million preparing an unscrewed cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2028.

For ESA Director-General Josef Aschbacher, it was no giant leap, but a small step in moving Europe closer to having its own exploration program that ultimately will include astronauts.

In keeping with the agency’s drive to become a customer of commercial industry instead of a . . .

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