As the European Space Agency looks to its crucial budget summit with member state space ministers in Italy in November, director general Jean-Jacques Dordain spelled out the agency's wish list - and stressed that the member states have more to do than thrash out a five-year budget plan.
Addressing an ILA press gathering, Dordain called on member states not only to decide which programmes to support financially, but to decide how to make ESA even more relevant for Europe and the world.
"ESA has never been as successful as it is today," he says. "But, on the other hand, ESA has never been as threatened as it is today."
The agency is enjoying a great run of success - it has just welcomed its 20th member, Poland, and is managing and expanding a long list of mission successes.
These include the Ariane 5 heavy launcher programme; sophisticated weather satellites - MetOp-B launches 17 September - scientific Earth observation platforms; and deep-space probes to Mars, Saturn and, soon, Mercury and Jupiter.
However, warns Dordain, ESA also faces turbulent times. The economic situation, he says, has led to a great disparity in the budget constraints faced by various member states.
Europe is also changing, with new members, new groupings and new interests. Moreover, the Lisbon Treaty gave the EU a mandate to take a leading role in space exploitation. Dordain welcomes this as "good news", but observes that it also means the EU and ESA must redefine their relationship.
But one of the greatest threats to ESA, he says, is a changing world, with new markets and new rivals to Europe's established space industry players. That means new partners and new initiatives - and lots of change.
ESA, says Dordain, must therefore "mature", and it is imperative that member states look beyond the imminent task of setting the next five-year budget.
Meanwhile, Dordain thinks the ESA budget will remain unchanged at a little more than €4 billion ($5 billion). The priorities he will present to ministers cluster around three areas: knowledge, including planetary exploration and Earth observation; services, including weather monitoring, a next-generation Galileo navigation system and ESA's space situational awareness system; and competitiveness, including launch services and support of telecommunications industry customers.