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German space budget too tight for Moon dreams

Germany is set to increase public investment in space science and technology from currently €1.2 billion per year to €1.4 billion in 2014 but has abandoned its Moon aspirations.

In its new space strategy, released yesterday, the government recognizes the growing economic importance of applied space technologies. Germany’s future space activities will therefore focus on commercially exploitable communication, navigation and environmental monitoring satellites, Rainer Brüderle, the minister of the economy, told the press.

On cost grounds there will be no national space science missions, lunar, planetary or other. Germany will instead contribute to European spacecraft and launches and plans to participate in future US and Japanese space science missions.

Germany is currently contributing €637 million per year to the budget of the European Space Agency which coordinates European space activities.

Bilateral space projects include a Franco-German climate science mission scheduled for launch in 2014. Merlin (Methane Remote Sensing Lidar Mission) is to map atmospheric methane concentrations around the globe.


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    Uncle Al said:

    Apollo lunar landings placed fused silica corner cube retro-reflector arrays allowing lunar laser ranging from Earth. A wealth of fundamental physics resulted. The Russians landed at least one working array.

    Modern hardware distributed across the lunar face would be a boon to gravitation theory and orbital mechanics. Priority should be assigned to a few robot landings.

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