Science Ministers from twelve Western European nations met in Brussels on Wednesday (20 December) to decide the future of the European space effort.
GV Conference building
GV INT Delegates seated
SCU Danish representative
SCU Swedish representative
SCU Italian member
SCU French representative
SV German delegation
SCU U.K. delegation
SCU Spanish delegation
SCU Swiss representatives
SCU Canadian delegate
SCU Irish delegate
SCU Portuguese and Brazilian delegates
GV Delegates sit at round table
Initials BB/0025 WR/PN/BB/0016
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Background: Science Ministers from twelve Western European nations met in Brussels on Wednesday (20 December) to decide the future of the European space effort.
The one day conference had been put off twice since July because of difference between the big three countries involved in European space technology, France, West Germany and Britain.
The French are interested in pressing their partners to continue development of a European rocket, giving the continent a measure of independence from the United States in the satellite launching field.
On the other hand, the West Germans are in favour of dropping the European launcher and joining the United States in the post-Apollo space programme.
Britain has been reported to have urged a complete re-organisation of the European Space effort, which is based on the European Launcher Development Organisation (ELDO) and the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO).
The United States offered Europe a part in the 5,500 million dollar (about 2,100 million pounds sterling) post-Apollo programme more than two years ago. It has now ben reported that US space officials have been asking the Europeans to make a decision quickly.
SYNOPSIS: Representatives from twelve Western European nations met in Brussels on Wednesday to decide the future of the European Space programme. The one-day European Space Conference was faced with three main items on its agenda, European participation in the United States post-Apollo Space programme, the future of Europe's own rocket launcher and a possible merger of Europe's two space agencies.
France urged that Europe should develop its own rocket while the West German delegation favoured joining the United States programme.
Britain on the other hand wants to reorganise Europe's entire space effort. However during the conference it was emphasised that Europe had just six months to decide a course of action. August 1973 is the deadline set by the United States on its offer to Europe to join in the post-Apollo space programme, which is based on the concept of a reusable 'space plane' or shuttle.