HC Deb 05 March 1965 vol 707 cc323-4W
Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress is being made in the European Space Research Organisation programme.

Mr. Crosland

The Convention establishing the European Space Research Organisation came into operation in March, 1964, and a financial protocol to the Convention provides for a programme of space research (by means of sounding rockets and satellites) over the eight years to 1972. The programme for 1965 provides for the launching by means of sounding rockets of 33 experiments contained in 14 payloads.

Contracts are being placed for the purchase of 28 Centaure rockets from Sud Aviation of France and 20 Skylark rockets from the British Aircraft Corporation. A contract for a satellite to study solar X-rays and cosmic radiation, which is to be launched in the spring of 1967, is being negotiated with Hawker-Siddeley Dynamics. Preliminary design studies for a polar Ionospheric satellite to be launched towards the end of 1967 have been completed and calls for tenders for its development have been sent out. A large satellite for stellar astronomy experiments is scheduled to be launched in 1968–9 and preliminary proposals for payloads are under consideration.

The Organisation has established a space technology centre in the Netherlands and is establishing a space laboratory near to it. In addition, a data centre is in the process of establishment in Germany and a launching range at Kiruna in Sweden.

The Organisation awards fellowships to enable space scientists from member states to study in other member states or, under an agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in the United States of America.