Last Sunday (October 6th) the annual ESA-ESTEC open house day was held on the grounds of Europe’s largest Space facility, ESTEC in the Netherlands. This open day is part of world space week – and the week of science. This year’s theme of the open day was “Europe to the Moon”. Among the special guests was ESA Director General Johann-Dietrich Wörner.
Mr. Wörner, who has led ESA since July 1, 2015, took time out of his busy schedule to talk to NasaSpaceFlight.com.
Question: What are the Space Station plans for and after 2024, pending the potential redirection of support from the Americans?
Johan Wörner: No that is a bit simplified. The Americans say they will hand it over, more or less, to commercial companies – which does not mean they are not financing it.
If you look at the private activities right now with SpaceX and others, they are financed by public money, but it is a commercial activity. This is how I understand the Americans, concerning the Space Station, that they would like to hand over more activities to commercial partners, but they will still be financing it.
Q: Will ESA also continue with ISS after 2024?
Johan Wörner: ...