As the year comes to a close, it is once again time to look back and reflect on some of the achievements and highlights of European spaceflight. The new Gaia star catalogue and the launch of Cheops are keeping ESA at the forefront of space science, as will Solar Orbiter, being prepared for launch next year. The Copernicus programme continues to be the largest Earth observation programme in the world, with ESA preparing even more missions. On the Space Station, Luca Parmitano became the third European to command an ISS expedition. During his second mission, he made some of the space programme’s most complex and demanding spacewalks. At the end of 2019, the ESA Space19+ ministerial conference agreed to give ESA its largest budget ever and expressed continued support for Europe’s independent access to space with Ariane 6 and Vega-C.
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