German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst stand at the Orion spacecraft during a visit at the training unit of the Columbus space laboratory at the European Astronaut training centre of the European Space Agency ESA in Cologne, Germany on May 18, 2016. Ina Fassbender / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images By Monir Ghaedi As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal. ‘Strategic Autonomy’ in Space "I believe we need a more offensive and aggressive strategy," said the European Commissioner Thierry Breton as he laid out the main priorities for the EU space program over the next seven years. Breton said that the European Union must move quickly to reduce its dependence on third countries. "Strategic autonomy" is Brussels’s latest catchphrase that echoed throughout Breton’s and other EU officials’ speeches during the 13th European Space Conference earlier this week. As Europe plans to address economic needs within its borders, its aerospace program is set to […]

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