Iceland Aiming To Join The European Space Agency - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Iceland Aiming To Join The European Space Agency

Published October 13, 2016

Photo by
NASA/Wikimedia Comons

Parliament passed a proposal today that puts Iceland on track to try and join the European Space Agency.

As Vísir reports, the proposal was submitted last summer by Pirate Party MP Helgi Hrafn Gunnlaugsson. The stated purpose of the proposal is to boost the scientific and tech industries in Iceland.

However, the proposal’s passage does not mean Iceland is automatically a part of the ESA. The Foreign Minister must seek Iceland’s membership, and new parliamentary elections are coming at the end of this month. If accepted, the process of being formally brought into the ESA fold could take anywhere from five to ten years. As such, do not expect Icelanders to be taking space walks in the near future.

If the idea of Iceland taking part in a space programme seems strange, bear in mind that Iceland has been an active participant in space exploration for decades now. Many of the Apollo missions trained in Iceland in the 1960s, due to some parts of the country having a positively lunar landscape, and Icelanders have themselves gone into space as well.

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