European Space Agency welcomes Estonia as its 21st member
Anne Sulling, Estonian minister of foreign trade and entrepreneurship, signed an accession agreement with the Paris-based space agency today.
According to Aviation Week, Estonia spends several hundred million euros annually on space activities, including new financing for national R&D activities decided last year and a contribution to European meteorological organization Eumetsat.
“The country has strong research facilities, particularly in the areas of astronomy and astrophysics, with the Observatory of Tartu and the universities of Tartu and Tallinn,” Aviation Week said.
Estonia spent 330 million euros on space activities in 2009, and has been contributing about 1.2 million per year to the European Space Agency (ESA) budget as part of a cooperation contract signed in 2010. A dozen Estonia-related space development projects have been initiated since then. Tallinn also supports European space projects as a member of Eumetsat, is a contributor to the EU Common Space development project, and to Europe’s Copernicus environmental and monitoring and security system.
In 2013, Estonia became the 41st nation to have a man-made object in space, when its first satellite, ESTCube-1, was rocketed off to orbit the Earth. Around 100 students and scientists contributed to creation of the tiny one-kilogram satellite, which was nearly six years in the making. The satelliite was used as the basis for 40 research projects and three doctoral theses.