China steals IP from Silicon Valley

New ESA boss: "We have to be ready to take more risks"

Firstly, I hope that it will be a little faster than 2030. Secondly, the market is very dynamic. There is, especially in Germany, an active start-up scene for new technologies and new missiles, the first of which is expected to fly in two years. This competition is absolutely welcome. He is exactly what we need.

In contrast to ESA, the US space agency NASA relied on commercial rocket development at an early stage.

Yes, but we have to approach NASA in another area as well: In Europe, spending on space is much lower than in the USA or China. The budget in America, for example, is six to seven times higher, but we Europeans are world leaders in science and earth observation. This is fantastic. I just think we run the risk of falling out of this race if we don't continue to invest heavily in innovation. And continuing to invest means: getting closer to the level of NASA.

After Corona, of all places, when savings have to be made everywhere, do you want to get more money for space travel?

I will propose to organize a “Space Summit” next year with the heads of state and government of the ESA, but also the EU. The question should be: Where does Europe want to go in space in the next few decades? And: Are our investments sufficient for this? Especially after Corona, this summit should also help to recharge your batteries and create inspiration, projects, ideas and dreams. Europe needs that.

The American dream of bringing people to the moon again in 2024 was initially ridiculed. In the meantime it has even survived the change of president and seems to be picking up more and more speed, albeit perhaps with a different date. Does Europe also need such a lighthouse project, such a vision?

Yes, in any case. My dream would be for the European heads of state to stand up next year and say: We want to see a European woman on Mars in the next decade, and you as ESA are doing it - here you go! - possible. Just as US President John F. Kennedy gave the order to land the moon in his 1961 speech at Rice University.

After all, you are currently looking for astronauts. How do you ensure that more women will fly into space in the future? With a quota?

No, there will be no quota for women. However, we want to encourage women to apply more - this includes campaigns in magazines and on channels that are used particularly intensively by women.

But if only 20 percent women apply, will only 20 percent make the final selection?

That is not being said, it can also be 100 percent. Ultimately, it is the qualification that counts. But of course: the more candidates apply, the higher the chance that astronauts will also be selected.

Some of your astronauts also trained with China recently. The People's Republic would even like to launch its own space station soon. Do you want to work more closely with the People's Republic in the future?

In principle, the following applies: ESA is open to all forms of cooperation. However, such a cooperation must always be fair and to the benefit of both partners. If we can do that, we can also cooperate more closely with China.

Despite the local human rights situation?

That will certainly play a role in a decision, we have very high principles here at ESA. When I present my Agenda 2025, you will see that we see ourselves not only as a space agency, but that we also advocate social goals: These include sustainability and climate protection, but certainly also human rights.