The national policy is based on promoting international co-operation and intends to strengthen the excellent position on selected fields such as astrophysics and to expand a knowledge-intensive capability in industry on priority areas. The greater part of the Dutch space budget is applied to fund ESA programmes.
In the last years, The Netherlands allocated about € 110 million of public funding to space activities, split between contributions to ESA, EUMETSAT, national programmes, SRON and universities. Dutch commercial upstream space represent an annual turnover of about €20 million. Successful examples of commercial Dutch upstream products are: solar panels, structures and igniters for launchers, sensors and biological facilities such as gloveboxes for the International Space Station, in collaboration with NASA.
The Netherlands contributes as a full member of ESA to the mandatory programmes on a Gross National Product basis, which amounts to 4,5 % of the ESA budget nowadays. The Netherlands participates in optional programmes such as Earth Observation, Telecommunication, Space Transportation, Manned Space Missions and Life and Physical Science. The average contribution to the optional programmes amounts to 2.5% of the ESA budget. For example, the Dutch participation in the family of earth observation programmes is about 3.3 %.
The Netherlands co-operates in multilateral projects with other countries. Some examples are the Dutch participation in the Italian BEPPOSAX astronomy satellite, the development of earth observation instruments (e.g. OMI) and microgravity instruments for flights on Shuttle (e.g. gloveboxes in cooperation with NASA), Mir and ISS. SRON was involved in many other international projects concerning astrophysics research such as the NASA project Chandra.
Courtesy Dutch Space: SCIAMACHY Instrument on ENVISAT used for global measurements of trace gases in the troposphere and stratosphere