Germany has paid €3 million ($3.6 million) to join the preparatory phase of the European Space Agency’s Aurora exploration programme, and could be followed by Scandinavian member states. Although the four-year phase ends in December, Germany’s payment enables its space industry to participate in work that continues beyond that date.

Including Germany, 12 ESA member states have provided €47.2 million for the preparatory programme – €41 million was needed to meet the phase’s basic needs. ESA will decide in December whether to go ahead with the full Aurora programme. This now includes participation in NASA’s Mars sample return mission as well as the all-European Exomars exobiology rover.

Source: Flight International